5 Network Requirements for the 5G Network Revolution

by Affirmed Affirmed No Comments

In order to create a 5G network, we must transform three things: the radio access network, the core network, and the service creation layer. Radio access standards and available spectrum are still works-in-progress—but we have a good understanding today of the requirements of 5G. Here are the five core network requirements for 5G.


Create a Common Composable Core

The first 5g requirement is creating a common composable core to deliver a controlled and secure experience across access technologies and manage connectivity/mobility for mobile devices. The 5G core also needs to scale dynamically while reducing cost and complexity. A composable core decouples the user and control planes, moving services and applications closer to the network edge. Communications service providers (CSPs) can affordably achieve high bandwidth, low latency requirements with unlimited scale and flexibility.


“Slice” the network to Support Different Services

In a 5G network, CSPs will need to slice their network resources into many different types of services, each with unique requirements around the quality of service, security, latency, etc. HD videoconferencing in a telemedicine application will have very different session requirements than a wireless machine-to-machine device communicating its hourly status. CSPs must support network slicing on-demand on a per-customer or per-application/use case basis.


Optimize for the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things brings billions of connected wireless sensors that will share space on the same network as consumer and enterprise data traffic. Preventing millions of devices from impacting subscriber services requires a network architecture that can efficiently handle high-bandwidth downloads, high-bandwidth uploads, and high-density/delay-tolerant communications.


Support Creation of New Mobile Services

Increased network intelligence and analytics will allow service providers to create new services that drive business decisions and improve the overall subscriber experience. Real-time insights can be gleaned from session control, subscriber events and subscriber data to drive smarter network planning and provisioning.


Simplify Network Operations and Management

CSPs face the challenge of how to build more intelligent networks to handle more volume and more types of traffic without escalating costs. On the wireless access side, leveraging existing Wi-Fi networks and short-range access points instead of radio access network (RAN) towers can mitigate the cost of mobile broadband. Within the network, CSPs use virtualization and the cloud to reduce capex costs, while service automation, orchestration, and network analytics will drive opex costs down.


Find out more about how we can create agile mobile networks, and learn what the virtual packet core for 5G will look like at the 5G Core Track “vEPC in the Lead up to 5G ” on June 14th at 3.30 P.M.

Members of the Affirmed team will be available in Booth #5G304, showcasing our 5G-Ready portfolio and demonstrating 5G CUPS, Network Slicing, Service Automation, IoT solutions, Virtual Probe, and Real-Time Analytics, Service Function Chaining, and more.

Affirmed Networks delivers the world’s only fully virtualized, cloud-native, 5G-ready mobile core solution. The Affirmed Mobile Content Cloud (vEPC) provides a breadth of VNFs with integrated Virtual Probe and Tap providing real-time network visibility and reducing probe and monitoring costs by more than 50%.

Join Affirmed at OPNFV Summit in Beijing for CNCF Day

by Affirmed Affirmed No Comments

The promise of NFV is to be able to manage core telco applications with the agility and scale of the cloud. But how do we convert a legacy application into a “Cloud Native” application? On June 13 at the Open Platform to Accelerate NFV (OPNFV) conference in Beijing, China, a one-day Cloud Native VNF development workshop will take us on a journey from traditional monolithic VNF to OpenStack cloud native container VNF, with practical advice from experts who have walked this path.

The comprehensive session list covers automation, monitoring, componentizing, telemetry fault management, container orchestration, and much more, led by speakers from Red Hat, Dynatrace, NEC, China Mobile, and others.

Dejan Leskaroski, Sr. Product Manager at Affirmed Networks will cover the “state and storage” topic, including how to “fix” apps that use filesystem storage, considerations for managing database as a service, a comparison of shared filesystems vs. object storage, and issues around handling sessions.

Affirmed Networks delivers the world’s only fully virtualized, cloud native, 5G-ready mobile core solution. The Affirmed Mobile Content Cloud (vEPC) provides a breadth of VNFs with integrated Virtual Probe and Tap providing real time network visibility and reducing probe and monitoring costs by more than 50%.

Don’t miss this fascinating day-long workshop.

Unpacking What’s Next in Network Composability at the Big Communications Event

by Affirmed Affirmed No Comments

The “composable core” is all about creating new services quickly and easily. As a leader in virtualization, Affirmed Networks has been working with operators such as AT&T, Vodafone, Etisalat and more. Affirmed CEO, Hassan Ahmed, shared his insights on the current state of network composability with open-integration mechanisms at the Virtualization Track at the Big Communications Event held in Austin, TX in May.

The ability to dynamically compose microservices independent of the VNF’s original structure opens up a world of possibilities for service providers:

  • They can enhance existing services. For example, a service provider might wish to add network monitoring capabilities to each of its core network elements. Instead of deploying a physical or virtual probe to monitor each gateway or element independently, a service provider could move the probing function into a container and re-create those network elements with the probing function built in to the service.
     Affirmed CEO, Hassan Ahmed, on the Virtualization Track panel at the Big Communications Event

    Affirmed CEO, Hassan Ahmed, on the Virtualization Track panel at the Big Communications Event

  • They can adapt to IoT opportunities. The Internet of Things (IoT) will place unique demands on service provider networks—and present exciting new opportunities for revenue-generating services. A cloud-native architecture has an inherent advantage here because it allows service providers to move functions closer to the network edge (to reduce latency for applications such as healthcare device monitoring), use external storage to reduce costs (versus stateful VM-based storage) and deliver multi-tiered load balancing at exceptional scale.
  • They can create new network elements. The arrival of 5G and IoT will create the need for new network elements such as the Cellular IoT Serving Gateway Node (C-SGN). By assembling the right microservices and functions in a cloud-native architecture, service providers can dynamically create VNFs to serve as the C-SGN or other needed roles in the network.

Creating a cloud-native network is a journey. It is one that can be accomplished faster and with fewer risks when the right architectural foundations are in place. If your network vendor doesn’t have a clear path to cloud-native capabilities in the products they sell today, then you don’t have a clear path to the cloud either.

At Affirmed, the cloud has been an integral part of our vision from the very beginning. The solutions that we sell today, such as our evolved packet core, have been designed to accommodate cloud-native transformations simply and easily. More importantly, these solutions allow service providers to deploy a proven NFV platform today that can address current network needs—more capacity, lower cost, higher performance—while providing a seamless migration path to micro-services and cloud-based delivery models.

Don’t Miss This Red Hat Summit Session on Containers, Microservices and the Cloud-native Telco

by Affirmed Affirmed No Comments

Will you be at the Red Hat Summit in Boston? If so, be sure to attend our session on how Telco and NFV Cloud Service Providers can move from monolithic software architectures to cloud-native microservices.

Affirmed Networks’ James Logan, Director of Cloud Infrastructure Software and Technology will join Red Hat’s Anita Tragler and Marc Curry to shed light on this evolution, ranging from what a Cloud Native architecture consists of, to how CSP networks benefit from moving the virtualized VM based deployments to a mix of VMs, Containers in VMs and Containers on bare metal.

To meet the needs of 4G-LTE/5G, IoT and never-ending appetite of mobile applications, Telco 3GPP standards and Virtual Network Function vendors are driving “cloud native” deployments that are lightweight, scalable, and resilient. Moving NFV clouds to containers requires high performance container networking, multi-tenancy, container security, orchestration and integration.

Gaps in the Container ecosystem will have to be addressed for VNFs, including orchestration limitation, managed multi-tenancy, multi-interface, network security, high performance datapath, performance tuning.The session with Red Hat and Affirmed Networks will cover customer requirements for vEPC, vCPE, 5G NG-Core, vIMS, vGiLAN services, and , potentially, a demonstration of the vEPC on Red Hat OpenStack in Containers.

Please join Jim at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on Thursday, May 4, at 4:30 PM in Room 153A for session S103944 – “Are you being served? Containers, microservices and the cloud-native telco.

Talking Points Around Standards, Open Source, and the Implementation of End-to-End Orchestration

by Affirmed Affirmed No Comments

In this final blog post about the TM Forum report on Orchestration, we look at the role of standards and open source in end-to-end orchestration, as well as implementation strategies.

Standards and Open Source: the Rise of Three Camps.

Among standards bodies and open source groups, TM Forum is relied upon by a large majority of service providers for help with orchestration, with ETSI, MEF, and OASIS also cooperating to develop the Hybrid Network Management Platform.1

Almost two-thirds of service providers view open source as either extremely or very important for NFV and SDN deployment. Strong alignment is needed in a digital ecosystem of partners where it is important that everyone understand the requirements in the same way and work together on a common source code.

AT&T, China Mobile and Telefónica have are vying for open source leadership. By contributing ECOMP to open source, AT&T is clearly pushing for its platform to become the de facto industry standard for NFV orchestration. The company is planning to contribute the core orchestration code from ECOMP, not policy or analytics which it considers proprietary. China Mobile, which supports the OPEN-Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O), is unlikely to adopt AT&T’s ECOMP, although AT&T has said that the ECOMP code itself is vendor-neutral and the company will consider other integrators. Telefónica has contributed its virtual infrastructure manager and orchestrator to Open Source MANO (OSM), an ETSI-sponsored group. Ultimately, all the players need to realize that change will come faster if everyone works together and agree on how to federate disparate approaches.

Strategies for Implementing Orchestration

Service providers can move toward becoming platform providers by taking an enlightened strategy toward adopting orchestration. Key elements include:

Understand what end-to-end orchestration means. Orchestration goes beyond network functions virtualization (NFV). It is about automation. The NFV Orchestrator role specified in ETSI’s NFV MANO isn’t enough. To manage hybrid networks and give customers the ability to control their own services end-to-end automation is required, and that includes operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS).

Adopt a platform approach. Platform providers like Airbnb, Amazon, Google, Netflix and Uber have achieved success by providing an interface between customers and sellers. Telecom companies like BT, Orange and Vodafone see orchestration as a strategic step toward becoming platform providers for third parties, building their businesses by curating ecosystems that link end customers or users with producers of goods and/or services. Network operators need a similar model to offer the network platform as a service.

Determine where orchestration has to happen. Orchestration happens everywhere, and systems must communicate with each other and with many other physical and virtual elements to deliver a service request that the customer initiates through the customer portal. This spans the technology layer, which includes physical and virtual functions, the resource layer where functions are modeled as logical resources, the services layer where provisioning, configuration and assurance happen, and the customer layer.

Use common information models, open APIs and intent-based management. A service provider’s master service orchestrator will never have complete visibility into other providers’ networks and operational and business support systems. Service providers will automate service provisioning and management end to end by agreeing to use the same information, data models, and APIs so that orchestrators in different domains can communicate. Intent-based management abstracts the complexity of the network and uses customer intent and policy to manage it. The answer lies less in the orchestrator and more in standardizing the things that are being orchestrated.

Implement closed control loops, policy and analytics. Closing the loop means collecting and analyzing performance data to figure out how the network can be optimized and then applying policy, usually through orchestration, to make the changes in an automated way.

Design in security. Trying to bolt security features on afterwards doesn’t work. Detecting configuration-related vulnerabilities requires an orchestrator that can call on internal or external security functions and apply security policies to users or systems accessing NFV components.

Chart the migration paths. For service providers, success will depend greatly on how well they plan the transition, setting a clear migration strategy both technologically and culturally. This really comes down to learning to think like a software company.

Work toward a common goal in open source groups. Aligning around a single approach would certainly make end-to-end orchestration easier, but short of that ideal, ways must be found to federate the approaches through collaborative work on common information and data models and APIs. Developing the technology and business models needed in the world of 5G and the Internet of Everything can only happen if everyone works together.

This is the final blog in our series on the TM Forum report on Orchestration. The report confirms that orchestrating services end-to-end across virtualized and physical infrastructure is indeed a huge challenge—but not an insurmountable one.