The iPhone 11 was released on September 20th, 2019. Take a look at it 1, and you’ll quickly notice the extra camera and the lower price tag. What you won’t see is any mention of native support for 5G. The new iPhone doesn’t have it.
If you’re looking for the seeds of a 5G revolution, don’t look to Apple. Look to the core. There, you’ll find the revolution is right on schedule, as telco operators and enterprises continue to embrace 5G technology in their mobile network cores. Next year, analysts expect that 5G services will break big, and many of the leading telco companies are banking on it.
As an early visionary in the field of network virtualization, Affirmed has a front-row seat to the 5G revolution, and what we see is an industry-wide push toward 5G. At the early-adopter end of the spectrum, we see operators embracing cloud-native solutions that behave like the webscale networks of Amazon and Google. As the 5G rollout continues, we see operators understanding that virtualization is the only viable path to the future. In both cases, 5G is the endgame, even if their timetables are different.
The transition from 4G to 5G
With 2020 around the corner, one of the big questions we hear from operators and enterprises is “How do we get to 5G from here?” For most operators, the answer is to build a non-standalone 5G network using the existing 4G core and transport networks you have today.
At Affirmed, the seamless transformation between 4G and 5G has always been the core mission We’ve done this by building a virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) solution that could gracefully transition to 5G. For example, operators can easily add network slicing capabilities, video optimization, CGNAT firewall security, and other value-added services to our vEPC solution to create 5G services. It’s part of what we call our native cloud approach, meaning that everything we’ve built is designed to run in a cloud architecture for optimal scale, speed/performance, and resiliency.
What’s Next for the 5G Revolution?
The immediate future of the revolution will be “pure” 5G networks or what the industry calls 5G standalone networks. Our UnityCloud solution is one of the industry’s first standalone 5G platforms, designed for environments where new 5G services can be quickly created, deployed, and (if needed) decommissioned. The same “fail fast” environment that companies like Amazon and Google use—to level the playing field between telco operators and their cloud-based competitors.
Telcos understand that they won’t be able to compete with the big cloud providers for new enterprise services revenue until their networks are competitive. That means adding network orchestration and automation capabilities, operating “non-stop” networks that remain online even during upgrades, and delivering service assurance to enterprises with deeper, real-time visibility into network traffic and performance.
It’s tempting to see the latest iPhone release of 2019 and think you’re witnessing the future of 5g. And in one sense, you are. But the real future of telecom isn’t happening on a stage. It’s happening behind the scenes, in the network cores of the world’s largest telco operators. And that future is worth keeping your eye on.