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Unlock Your Innovation Using Open Source PaaS Technology

by Ashwin Moranganti Ashwin Moranganti No Comments

It’s time to take the future back from equipment vendors and return it to the operators and the innovators!

Coming from a vendor, that’s a bold statement, so let me explain. For too long, telco operators have leaned on their equipment vendors to provide their platform of the future. Understand this: If you’re looking to a single vendor to solve your problems, you’re looking to get locked into someone else’s future. Instead, telco operators need to stop leaning on a single source, and learn to unlean by using open-source PaaS (Platform as a Service) technology and best-of-breed solutions from many vendors.

At Affirmed, we call this disaggregation. Even in a network where hardware has been virtualized, there is still a lot of proprietary functionality found in so-called virtualized network functions (VNFs). Disaggregation proposes reducing these VNFs down to their application logic and delivering everything else through a common, shared open-source PaaS: lifecycle management, databases, service mesh, monitoring, logging, etc. Disaggregation dramatically reduces the cost and complexity of the network, and gives operators the agility they need to rapidly create and innovate in the coming 5G environment.

 

Disaggregation Will Help Telco Operators Moving Forward

The idea of Disaggregation is, of course, very different from how many telco operators have constructed their networks in the past. Historically, telco networks were built using a mix-and-match approach from various vendors. Each vendor’s solution had their own CLI, database, lifecycle management, redundancy scheme and so on. Operators, in turn, learned how to use all these different tools, and were (not surprisingly) afraid to add new vendors to the mix for fear that they wouldn’t “fit” into their existing architecture. This approach didn’t encourage innovation, but stifled it.

With server virtualization, telco operators began to see the value of simplification and unification. But the real value of virtualization occurs when operators move beyond hardware and virtualize their underlying services platform. For example, in order to orchestrate the VNFs, the operator builds a multivendor orchestration system, which then needs to communicate with vendors’ proprietary VNF managers. Instead, what if all vendors simply delivered components as containers and the operator used widely adopted Kubernetes to orchestrate the containers? The same goes for service mesh, monitoring, logging and other services. Instead of operating a network designed by dozens of different vendors, you have a simple, shared architecture that features a common design and elements.

Disaggregation is at the heart of Affirmed’s new 5GC mobile core platform. Designed around open-source technology, 5GC leverages a shared PaaS architecture that allows telco operators to virtualize their networks for much higher efficiencies, improved agility and rapid delivery of new and innovative services. We see it as the difference between being a leaner and a leader. We don’t want our customers to lean on us for their future. We want to lead them to the future, which we strongly believe is open-source, cloud-native technology from the world’s most innovative companies.

Vendors still have an important role to play in the future, provided their relationship with telco operators is re-imagined around the reality that change and churn aren’t the enemy, but the opportunity. By building a software architecture around microservices and a standard PaaS layer, telco operators and their vendors can strategically respond to change and churn with agility and success. If telco operators expect to stay one step ahead in the race to 5G revenue, opening their network to more innovation is the single most important thing they can do.

Standalone (SA) and Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G Architectures: The various paths to 5G revenues and profitability

by Seshadri Sathyanarayan Seshadri Sathyanarayan No Comments

A Telecom Transformation is underway. With 5G, a whole new generation of networks is being built to connect 50+ Billion Devices, creating more than a $12 trillion-dollar market opportunity for Mobile Network Operators. The road to 5G, it turns out though, isn’t a straight line.

The path that mobile network operators (MNOs) follow to 5G will depend a lot on how they plan to pay for that journey. For MNOs that are looking to deliver mainly high-speed connectivity to consumers with 5G-enabled devices, a non-standalone architecture (NSA) makes the most sense, because it allows them to leverage their existing network investments in transport and mobile core —rather than deploy a completely new end to end 5G network. This can be combined with efforts to reduce network operating costs by adopting virtualization and CUPS (Control and User plane separation) using software defined networking (SDN). These initial steps toward 5G, enable MNOs to begin offering 5G services providing faster data speeds and capture additional revenue streams.

For some MNOs, however, who have their sights set on new enterprise 5G services such as smart cities, smart factories or other vertical market solutions, a standalone architecture (SA) could make more sense. In this scenario, which 3GPP is still in the process of standardizing soon, MNOs could build an entirely new fully virtualized 5G network that includes new radio access network, new transport network and new 5G mobile core and edge networks – standing alone and separate from their existing 4G and legacy networks. 5G standalone arch is a fully virtualized, cloud native architecture (CNA) which introduces new ways to develop, deploy and manage services. CNA includes concepts of microservices and service-based interfaces which greatly simplify services, dramatically reducing the cost of operation and speeding up the introduction of new revenue-generating services. With 5G SA, the distinct advantage here is end-to-end support for 5G speeds and services. And the true promise of 5G is enterprise driven revenue – it changes business model from consumer-driven to enterprise-focused opening up entirely new use cases and revenue streams.

The Future of 5G Includes NSA and SA

It’s worth noting that NSA and SA aren’t an either/or proposition, but more of a “sooner or later” consideration. MNOs that begin with NSA can gradually add or migrate to SA over time. What we’ve seen at Affirmed from early 5G adopters are primarily NSA deployments as MNOs compete for the bragging rights (and the competitive advantage) of being the first to offer 5G speeds. These MNOs were typically the first to adopt 4G/LTE technologies as well, and so are fairly advanced in terms of network virtualization. Many of them are still using Affirmed’s solution as their virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) solution. One of the advantages of an Affirmed’s NSA-based solution is its ability to handle both 4G and 5G-based traffic as MNOs transform their networks.

At some point, of course, NSA and SA will converge as MNOs move to a full 5G architecture. Recognizing that, MNOs would do well to look for a mobile core platform that can transition easily from NSA to SA. Having a completely virtualized 5G architecture will offer MNOs the flexibility to migrate select functionality of their existing NSA solution to the 5GC platform over time, as new 5G services are enabled, allowing them to monetize their investment gradually rather than go all-in and hope to recoup their costs later          .

With a clear path to evolving their networks from NSA to SA, Mobile Network Operators can win the race to revenues by operating their networks at webscale.

 

 

 

Source for market reference

https://www.qualcomm.com/media/documents/files/fierce-wireless-ebrief-5g-release-16.pdf

5G Services: Profitable for Business

by Anudha Sawarkar Anudha Sawarkar No Comments

4G opened up a whole new world to consumers. Seemingly overnight, a vast ecosystem of mobile applications appeared that allowed consumers to do everything from watch movies on their tablets to make bank deposits from their smartphone. But 4G didn’t have a substantial an impact on enterprises beyond the need to mobile-enable their existing services.

The Difference Between 4G and 5G

5G, however, will have an enormous impact on enterprises. What 4G has been to consumers, 5G will be for enterprises: it will change the way they interact with the world around them. And, for service providers, 5G opens up a new world of opportunities to partner with enterprises.

Perhaps nothing illustrates the difference between 4G and 5G more clearly than the projected markets that service providers will serve in the future. The chart below on the left shows where service provider revenue comes from today; not surprisingly, consumer-centric services drive the lion’s share of revenue. But on the right, we see where revenue sources are expected to be in 2025. That’s not a mistake: the vast majority of service provider revenue in the next five years will come from enterprises, not consumers.

5G Targeted Services

5G: More about vertically targeted services

Enterprise customers have historically been the most profitable for service providers, yet it remains a small portion of the overall market. 5G changes all that because, for the first time, service providers are offering enterprises more than connectivity; they’re offering innovation that allows enterprises to not only do things more efficiently, but do different kinds of things, from smart factories to drone deliveries.

Why 5G will be Profitable for Service Providers

Right now, 5G is a wide-open field of opportunity. We’re only beginning to see how the ubiquitous mobile broadband, IoT interoperability and low-latency communications enabled by 5G will drive business innovation, but the early applications are already generating excitement: self-driving vehicles, remote real-time medical care, smart factories, smart cities, augmented reality, and the list goes on. In these scenarios, service providers aren’t simply providing the underlying network infrastructure; they’re critical partners in the service delivery as well, adding analytics, intelligence and assurance to 5G services that will differentiate them in the market.

No wonder service providers are excited about 5G. But they’re not the only ones. Over-the-top (OTT) competitors, from Amazon to as-yet-unknown start-ups, will figure prominently in the 5G mix, and mobile service providers will need to figure out ways to out-serve and out-innovate them. That competitive advantage could come in the form of unique network intelligence that allows enterprises to customize their 5G services, or by providing a better service experience through technologies such as Wi-Fi data roaming.

One thing is clear: service providers need to begin mobilizing their business model around 5G enterprise opportunities today. For example, we’re beginning to see tier one operators restructure their organizations around these opportunities. In the past, tier ones might have divided their business units between consumer, enterprise and, maybe, IoT. Today, it’s not unusual to see service providers structured by vertical industries—healthcare, banking, manufacturing, transportation, etc.—with new business initiatives built specifically around those industry opportunities. This gets to the heart of 5G’s transformative potential, because this isn’t simply a change in the way that the network is architected, but a change in the way a service provider’s business is architected.

What enterprise services will drive your revenue in the future? It’s a question you need to ask yourselves today, because it’s a certainty your competitors already are.

While You Were Waiting, for 5G, These Companies Just Beat You to Market

by Scott Heinlein Scott Heinlein No Comments

Fresh from Mobile World Congress, we all “get” that 5G will be a game changer. But if you’re waiting for 5G to officially arrive before you get into the game, you may find yourself on the sidelines. Right now, mobile operators around the world are already staking their claim on 5G-styled services, from international Wi-Fi data roaming to interconnected smart cities. How do we know this? Because they’re using our technology to do it.

Affirmed Networks has made some bold customer announcements in recent months that reveal how leading mobile operators are lining up for the 5G opportunities of the future. Here’s a quick recap at what our customers are doing to grab an early lead in the anticipated 5G frenzy.

Making Smart City Dreams a Reality

Dubai is looking to become the smartest city in the world, and the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company—known popularly under the brand du—is determined to help them get there. Working with Affirmed and partners, du is launching a state-of-the-art Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem that will support millions of interconnected “smart” devices, from parking meters to personal trackers. At the heart of the solution is Affirmed’s virtualized Narrow Band-IoT (NB-IoT) mobile core, which currently runs on a native cloud environment and provides advanced network slicing capabilities that will help du support hundreds of different kinds of data streams, from lifesaving medical devices to residential electricity meters. du’s efforts will give Dubai access to the world’s first NB-IoT network built on the new 3GPP Release 14 standards.

Cooking Up New Services Fast in a Unified Telco Cloud

Any conversation around 5G quickly comes around to the question of “How will operators pay for it?” With flat or shrinking revenues for traditional voice and data services, creating new revenue-generating services is the key to 5G’s future sustainability. Turkcell isn’t waiting for an answer; they’re creating those services today with one of EMEA’s largest virtualized mobile networks, featuring Affirmed’s virtualized EPC (vEPC) and virtualized GiLAN services technology. Turkcell calls their new virtualized platform the “Unified Telco Cloud,” and it’s clearly an idea accelerator. With their Affirmed-based solution, Turkcell has shaved months off their service creation cycle and significantly reduced both the capex and opex costs associated with new services, allowing Turkcell to price those services more competitively in the market.

At Orange, All Roads Lead to Roaming

5G calls for ubiquitous connectivity, but building out 5G radio coverage everywhere is an impractical proposition. A better solution? Let Wi-Fi go where 5G can’t—deliver strong wireless connectivity in remote and enclosed areas—with Wi-Fi data roaming services that connect seamlessly to the mobile core network. That’s what Orange is doing today, thanks to its Wi-Fi gateway solution from Affirmed, with new Wi-Fi data roaming services that will be rolled out to customers in traditionally hard-to-service locations such as cruise ships and airplanes. By offering subscribers a seamless broadband mobile experience wherever they are, Orange is clearly a mobile carrier on the move.

Orange, du and Turkcell are living proof that you don’t need to wait for 5G to launch the revenue-generating services of the future. If you’d like to know how your business can move forward with cloud-native, 5G-ready solutions today, hear more of the story  from Affirmed.

Affirmed Flying High After MWC19

by Affirmed Affirmed No Comments


Jet lag is one of the perils of the cross-continental pilgrimage to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. But Affirmed returned in high spirits after a successful conference capped by high-profile appearances in the media. If you didn’t catch all the great coverage form the show, here are a some of the highlights from Mobile World Congress 2019…

It’s not just about the core anymore

One of the key messages from MWC19 was the shift of infrastructure from the core to the edge as 5G deployments continue. As Hassan Ahmed explained to Light Reading’s Phil Harvey in the article Affirmed CEO wants to own the core… & more, Affirmed is expanding its horizon beyond the mobile core. “We do service automation, we do service assurance, we close the loop on the way the network works,” Ahmed shared. “We’re really a networking company.”

Affirmed “wins” MWC19, sort of

Writing for FierceTelecom, Scott Raynovich declared the big winners and losers of MWC19, with Affirmed clearly in the winner’s camp as a leader among the “flashy startups with edge compute infrastructure or applications.” Raynovich sees potential for this space to “flourish as the investment in infrastructure shifts to the edge and the cloud domain,” citing Affirmed’s recent infusion of $38 million in new capital as a particularly encouraging sign.

Collaboration is the killer app

In an interview with TelecomTV, Affirmed’s Amit Tiwari explained the importance of collaboration in building the 5G future, relating it to the Internet’s early mantra of “the network is the killer app.” As Tiwari notes, the best practices for 5G will emerge from the collaborative work that companies like Affirmed, Intel and RedHat are engaged in today. Tiwari was also joined by members of Intel and RedHat for an in-depth interview conducted by TelecomTV that looked at their collaborative efforts to date, including Affirmed’s vEPC solution and the joint Center of Excellence established with RedHat.

5G will be the fabric of connectivity around the world

5G will be very different than 4G, driving a new generation of innovation, from smart cities to better security. In his interview with WebPro News, Hassan Ahmed lays out how 5G will drive down costs and boost security for service providers. In a world where “everything is hackable,” Ahmed sees 5G network capabilities such as network slicing (which Affirmed already provides today for 4G networks) as critical in isolating and protecting 5G communications from increasingly advanced attacks.

True to the spirit of collaboration, Affirmed also scored great exposure through our partnerships. Electronic Engineering Journal did a nice writeup on Affirmed’s groundbreaking performance with Intel’s N3000 server. And Network Media Group hosted a video panel discussion focusing on Telefonica’s edge computing deployment that featured members of Telefonica, Affirmed and Intel.

Coming off the “high” of MWC19, expectations are equally high for 5G. Stay tuned for more developments from Affirmed and our partners by watching us in the news and reading our latest press releases.