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IP networking for the 5G era: Cloud Interconnect


The IP network is the load-bearing foundation for your future 5G success. It must be purpose-built to ensure that all traffic can flow reliably and securely without congestion, from the data centers and edge clouds where services live to the radio access network where users connect.

The third blog of this series about IP networking for the 5G era focuses on Cloud Interconnect, a smart IP network fabric to unleash the full revenue potential of a 5G service-based architecture. 

Unleash 5G with Dynamic Cloud Interconnect

5G introduces a highly disaggregated, cloud-native service architecture in which network and service functions can be flexibly placed in a distributed edge and core cloud to optimally meet bandwidth, latency, delivery cost and reliability constraints for different use cases (figure 1).

Figure 1. 5G service-based architecture with distributed network functions in the edge and core cloud

figure 1

5G services share a common IP transport infrastructure that is partitioned in network slices to support the various network functions and connectivity needs of the end-to-end service. To deliver a 5G service requires the operator to coordinate and connect dozens of physical and virtualized network functions that can be dispersed over hundreds of central offices or data centers. This approach brings tremendous flexibility. It also requires the underlying IP transport network to evolve and become highly consumable for on-demand service usage. Without proper instrumentation the IP transport network can become a source of complexity and cost that may impede service velocity and obstruct service automation.

Network Functions Interconnect (NF-IX) is a Nokia-led standardization initiative to overcome the operational barriers between IT and IP domains and seamlessly interconnect distributed edge and core cloud datacenters over a wide area network (WAN). NF-IX leverages several proven standards and technologies, such a multi-protocol BGP, segment routing traffic engineering and seamless MPLS, to establish a scalable and smart IP network fabric and dynamically engineer and optimize the transport connectivity required for 5G service infrastructure.

NF-IX addresses several key requirements to help you overcome the operational barriers between IT and IP domains and deliver the Network-as-a-Service:

  • Resource isolation — enabling multiple tenants and diverse service use cases to share a common, versatile transport network without resource contention or security issues
  • Deployment flexibility — by creating logical network slices that consist of dedicated and dynamically allocated sets of resources that can be optimized for different purposes
  • Service agility and velocity — to orchestrate and manage network slice configuration via suitable machine-programmable APIs or user portals.

The Nokia Dynamic Cloud Interconnect solution leverages the NF-IX architecture framework to deliver on-demand digital services with deterministic service level agreements (figure 2).

Figure 2. Delivering on-demand digital services with Nokia Dynamic Cloud Interconnect

figure 2

The Nokia Dynamic Cloud Interconnect solution combines the Nokia Network Services Platform (NSP) and Service Routing (SR) portfolio to establish a smart IP transport fabric that can dynamically place 5G user and control plane functions anywhere in the distributed 5G service cloud to optimize cost and performance goals.

To instantiate service functions and assign workloads to Virtual Machines, the centralized SDN controller of the Nokia NSP automatically computes and engineers the necessary service tunnels to connect all service functions, and assures that deterministic latency, throughput and reliability objectives of IP transport network slices are met (figure 2).


5G has great potential for innovation and promises extraordinary new service experiences for consumers, digital enterprises, smart cities and Industry 4.0. But investing in 5G radio alone will result in a 5G network with 4G performance! Nokia Dynamic Cloud Interconnect adds that extra gear to unleash the full revenue potential of a cloud-native 5G service-based architecture.

Nokia Dynamic Cloud Interconnect is part of Nokia’s IP network solutions portfolio for the 5G era. It is complemented by IP anyhaul transport to connect the 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) with a multi-access edge as well as integrated IP network support capabilities to automate and secure network operations.

To learn more about Nokia’s IP networking solutions for the 5G era, please consult the resources listed below.

Additional resources

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokia using #5G  #IP  #CloudInterconnect

Arnold Jansen

About Arnold Jansen

Arnold is a senior solution marketing manager in Nokia’s Network Infrastructure business division and responsible for promoting IP routing products and solutions. Arnold has held a number of roles in research and innovation, sales, product management, and marketing during his 25 years in the telecommunications industry. He holds a Bachelor degree in Computer Science from the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

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