Three ways to minimize investment risk in an any-cloud 5G packet core
The performance that 5G networks can deliver has never been in any doubt. The new networks can provide extraordinary services to users through ultra-reliable low latency communication on ultra-high-speed connections, not only over mobile connections but also via fixed wireless access.
As well as enabling new mobility services, 5G networks open the door to services based on application programming interfaces (APIs). These will significantly increase the possibilities of monetization, ensuring communications service providers (CSPs) can implement any new service for end users.
Despite the exciting new capabilities, evolving networks to 5G raises questions about the risks involved. Adoption rates may falter. Application development may become fragmented. Monetization may be slower than expected. Risk and reward are two sides of every investment coin. So with industry research platform GSMA Intelligence predicting that CSPs globally will spend $144 billion per year on 5G networks, there is huge need to minimize risk.
Any-cloud cuts the risks
Fortunately, the risks to CSP bottom lines can be reduced substantially by investing wisely in the optimal, advanced technologies. Any-cloud deployment of 5G packet core networks is a great example: it allows the cloud definition to be expanded from private cloud, where CSP build their own system, to public cloud, where third-party companies rent software and hardware capacity on their server to CSP; on-premises cloud, an extension of the public cloud implemented inside customer premises and finally the hybrid cloud, where more than one implementation mode is in use. To see why, let’s look at three scenarios and how cloud deployments can mitigate risk for CSPs:
- Serving new customers in specific geographical regions
Most of CSP tend to deploy their networks based on private cloud. However, by taking advantage of deployment on public clouds, network expansion can be achieved using Operational Expenditure (OPEX) instead of Capital Expenditure (CAPEX). This eliminates upfront investment risk by quickly enabling capacity in regions where private cloud is not available and then subsequently optimized in terms of workload and traffic as demand grows.
- Uncertain demand growth
As with any new service, predicting the growth in demand for 5G is difficult. Yet public cloud capacity can be used to temporalily supplement capacity to avoid both over-building capacity or under-serving demand. If end user demand grows more quickly than expected, it is straightforward to expand and optimize the workload and traffic.
- Unexpected increase in demand
Suppose there is a sudden need for more capacity, perhaps a large customer makes an unexpected request. Such an urgent need for capacity can be fulfilled temporalily by taking advantage of hyperscaler cloud capacity and systems. Traffic loads can then be factored into network planning.
The cloud-native core is key
To support these, and many other possible scenarios, the 5G packet core must be built using cloud-native principles. That means virtualized and containerized, using micro-services and with the ability to be fully disaggregated to support many different configurations. Such an architecture allows specific core processes to be run close to the end device, which is important for low-latency, industrial automation use cases. Cloud-native is mandatory for public cloud based implementations.
5G Cloud Packet Core vendors must provide a clear evolution path for CSPs, with an open and flexible solution that can meet any site configuration, geographical and capacity requirement. The core software must be able to run on a variety of industry leading private and hyperscaler cloud environment. In addition, the solution must be hardware agnostic, free from lock-in and proprietary implementations, which is the enemy of agility and innovation.
Such a technological approach allows CSPs to minimize their investment risk, but still rapidly build and launch services to win revenue from new markets and demands, while reducing their upfront CAPEX investments. To learn more about Nokia 5G Packet Core, please contact your Nokia sales representative.