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By VARINDIA    2018-06-18

Will Asia lead 5G

Adoption of 3G was led by service providers in Europe and The United States did take the lead with 4G. Is it Asia’s its turn to lead 5G adaptation? During the recent winter Olympics, operators in Korea where demonstration 5G and NTT DoCoMo is planning to launch their commercial 5G network during the summer Olympics in 2020. The regional 5G initiatives do not stop there; Telstra plans to launch 5G in major cities in 2019, China Mobile has an aggressive role out plan for 5G by the end of 2019 and India is today on the cusp of an exciting 5G journey. Even as the service providers are expanding the LTE/4G network across these countries, they are preparing for the upcoming 5G technology which promises to fundamentally change the way we live and work.


5G promises ultra-high broadband speeds with extremely low latency. This combination allows a number of innovative use cases like connected cars, autonomous surgery and transformation of public safety infrastructure. It is unlike any other previous standard as it is not just about improvement in speed. The 5G use cases demand that the CSPs work extensively with enterprises from different verticals.


The telecom service providers can truly benefit from the potential of 5G if they transform themselves from a Communication Service Provider (CSP) to a Digital Service Provider (DSP). This transition is not without challenges. It calls for dramatic and fundamental changes in both the networks and Information Technology (IT) side. Below are the main areas that the service providers need to focus on to successfully deploy 5G and cost-effectively benefit on the immense potential of 5G:


Slice Of The Network


Network Slicing is one of the key pillars of 5G and uses the principles of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN). This concept allows service providers to slice a physical network into multiple virtual networks with each “slice” being an independent virtualized end-to-end network. Each network slice can then run as per specific instructions. It makes it easier for the telcos to scale and launch newer services faster in keeping with the changing market dynamics. This is especially relevant for the Indian market because of the hyper-competitive environment and the telcos often have to come up with new tariff plans and services to match the rival.


Since the telcos constantly face the pressure to bring down capital and operational expenditure, they can also go for flexible deployment options such as Slice-as-a-Service. This way they can focus on the revenue generating services and avail this service for the non-core services that might be part of SLAs with enterprise clients. Network slicing can also be used to provide industry-specific Mobile Virtual Network Operators services.


Network slicing is going to be prerequisite in the 5G era of billions of devices and things connected all the time. Nearly 20.8 billion devices will be connected by 2020 and this concept will be required to ensuring that they run and function without a glitch. This is a key to ensure service prioritization as well. For instance, hospital network is clearly more critical at the time of a natural disaster than a teenager who wants to upload a selfie. This prioritization is essential to use 4G and 5G networks for public safety and mission-critical applications. The telcos can specify latency, speed and data rate for different slices.


The Evolving Architecture


The 5G technology demands that the telcos modernize their networks. This is also required to transition to becoming a Digital Service Provider to address the evolving demands of the customers. The Service Based Architecture (SBA) allows the service providers to go beyond the complexity of their applications and IT environments. The SBA brings together IT networking, Cloud and mobile service technologies for easier scalability and greater innovation.


At the same time, the service oriented architecture technologies are still not ready to be deployed in the telecom network. They face challenges in addressing the problems of traffic congestion and core security. However, Oracle 5G Service Proxy helps the telcos in addressing these problems, of congestion, traffic prioritization and 5G-4G interworking. Telecom is critical infrastructure and the networks need to provide a secure and reliable service at all times and Service Based Architecture now allows us to accomplish that.


The Policy Angle


As mentioned earlier, network slicing is going to be an integral part of 5G networks. It allows independent management of the `slices’ or virtual networks and this is likely to lead to a number of policy management challenges. The 5G network will have to support a number of partner-enabled services, across a number of networks, including WiFi, fixed and small cells. The service providers will need to rely on end-to-end service orchestration, to manage physical and virtual infrastructure.


Unified analytics enabled policy framework will be required for the efficient management of the 5G network. This approach will provide complete data insights from different units. Policy management solution that enables easy deployment of network policies across a range of use cases, security considerations, quality of services and various technologies is the need of the hour.


The 5G journey has started, the time is now right to take a long term view and to go for solutions which not only allow them to transform into a DSP but also enable them to leverage the vast potential of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT).


Boudewijn Pesch
Group Vice President, Japan and Asia Pacific, Oracle Communications

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