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Six ways the cloud packet core makes 5G real

Six ways the cloud packet core makes 5G real

The packet core is the arguably most important technology for helping communications service providers (CSPs) get the biggest benefits from the many opportunities 5G creates. To illustrate why, we’ve identified six of the priorities that CSPs tell us they must address.

In addition to this blog, you can find out more about the capabilities of the 5G packet core and how the technology is evolving in our new series of short videos

Minimizing the risk of implementing the 5G core

To deliver high performance 5G services, the core network must be deployed regionally to achieve coverage and low latency. Distributing the core closer to the network edge calls for substantial investment in servers and real estate, at a time when subscriber load (and revenue) is still low. The most effective way to minimize this risk is by deploying the core on the public cloud.

Monetizing 5G networks

Will CSPs really be able to make money from 5G? Well, there have already been reports showing additional revenue is being generated by premium 5G services, as well as growing numbers of subscribers seeking 5G experiences. Furthermore, advanced services like fixed wireless access (FWA), autonomous vehicles, remote medical assistance and industrial control are just the tip of a huge iceberg of new services being developed and gaining traction.

Securing 5G networks

Security is, of course, vital because a CSP’s business success depends on delivering trustworthy and reliable customer experiences. Yet with 5G comes new security challenges. The network’s threat surface will grow because deploying novel 5G services will increase the opportunities for attack. Countering the threats takes a 5G packet core with layered protection incorporating automated security management, robust 5G core security software and other measures.

Converting innovation into profit

There is no shortage of 5G network innovation to improve network performance and reliability, including advanced software design, cloud-native, hyperscaler capabilities and hardware agnosticism. The most important, though, are those that enable profitable new services. Shifting the core business model to Software-as-a-Service will drive CSP profit, while network slicing based on greater intelligence will enable services to be fine-tuned to efficiently meet customer needs, thus creating even higher value.

Using automation to simplify 5G network operations

There are two key dimensions to automation. The first is intrinsic automation, which comes from adopting webscale practices. By embracing cloud-native design, CSPs can grow and shrink the network as easily as any webscale application. That requires orchestration in the form of Kubernetes to automate the lifecycle management of network functions, in the same way as it does for any webscale application.

The second automation dimension is expanding DevOps into DelOps. While the DevOps models used by many web companies are inherently single vendor, DelOps is designed for complex, multivendor CSP environments that demand integration across vendors while evolving to continuous delivery streams from individual vendors.

Harnessing the benefits of openness

Openness dismantles existing roadblocks and provides the basis for new API-based services that turbocharge network and application evolution. While 5G provides the framework for new services such as FWA and autonomous cars, secure access to network data via the Network Exposure Function enhances the opportunities for monetization. Initiatives like SDK releases for developers, forums and API standardization projects dramatically expand the potential for innovation.

Now you’ve read the blog, watch the videos

For more insight into the capabilities of the 5G cloud packet core to address the needs of CSPs, please watch our video mini-series.

Mike Hawley

About Mike Hawley

Mike Hawley is Head of Mobility Management Packet Core R&D at Nokia, and has over 30 years of experience in wireless networks, with leadership roles in product management, pre-sales, systems engineering, and his true love, R&D.  Mike is a passionate and charismatic leader, and he holds degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame (Bachelors) and the University of California, Berkeley (Masters).  When he’s not enabling brilliant engineers to turn their ideas into products and features in the real world, you can find him designing and building wood furniture or taking pictures of our planet’s beauty.

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