Virtualization Network Transformation, The Only Way to 5G

21 Dec 2017

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NFV/SDN-based cloudification, network slicing, MEC with CUPS (control / user plane separation) are key technologies of 5G Core (5GC), and 5G merges them seamlessly and organically through network virtualization (NV), which has become the industrial consensus.

5G is not only the evolution of communications technologies, but it will also benefit from the explosive effects brought by the integration of communications, computing and vertical industries, completely changing the industries of driverless, digital medical, VR, smart home and leading new application scenarios and business models. 5G will bring gene mutation to the vertical industry, and virtualization and cloud transformation of the network will be the only way of evolution.

Industry analyst and consultancy firm Ovum also points out that many of the features of 5G networks require the support of virtualized network architectures. Before 5G arrives, the core network should take the lead in deploying virtualization technologies. Currently, many carriers have begun deploying NFVs.

Telecom operators are accelerating the transition to virtualization, and core network NFV cloudification has become the preferred way for operators to expand / build networks. The mainstream operators have begun to verify 5G networks based on virtualization, pre-commercial around 2019. The three major Chinese carriers have also begun CO re-architecture, aiming to transform thousands of edge end offices into data centers.

ZTE’s full set of core network equipment such as vEPC, vIMS, vSDM, vCS and vSBC are all commercially available in the world. NFV cloudification has fully entered the mature commercial stage.

Virtualization, the foundation of 5G construction, needs to evolve layer by layer

The underlying network is the cornerstone of the industry. With leading technologies such as SDN and NFV, 5G networks will build an agile network architecture for 2020 and continuously improve the elasticity, flexibility, agility of network infrastructure.

The network needs to gradually evolve to 5G layer by layer.

Stage Evolve to 5G

  • Stage 1 (2018): focuses on deploying virtualization infrastructure
  1. Unified telco cloud architecture, independent resource pool, decoupled software and hardware
  2. Introduction of VNF and VNF POOL, full commercialization of decoupled software and hardware
  • Stage 2 (2019~2020): focuses on introducing 5GC and deploying converged core network
  1. Pre-commercial pilot of 5GC, interoperability of 4/5G
  2. vEPC with CUPS, convergence of 4/5G user plane
  3. Commercialization of 5G, convergence of control plane, unified access of 2G/3G/4G/5G
  • Stage 3 (2020~): focuses on automating operation and maintenance
  1. DevOps-based smart operation and maintenance with end-to-end network slices

Network transformation is mandatory for realizing the Internet of Everything

By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices interconnected intelligently and producing 44ZB data every year. Whether Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC) such as smart home and smart city, or Ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) such as driverless cars and telemedicine, 5G raises ever-increasing massive data processing demands and more complicated application scenarios, requiring higher flexibility, speed and security as well as lower latency, so the network has to transform into an agile, flexible and scalable network.

Network transformation will enhance service experiences. In 5G video services, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) moves the user plane to the edge of the network, much closer to mobile users, and provides IT services, environments and cloud computing capabilities, to address service requirements of URLLC. In the vertical field, MEC supplies customized and differentiated services to improved network utilization efficiency and value.

ZTE, open and collaborative, to build a digital ecosystem, leading in SDN/NFV commercialization

In the virtualization field, ZTE is always keeping investing in SDN/NFV, and carriers out extensive collaborations with open source communities, actively promoting the large-scale commercialization of virtualization and continuing to lead the industry.

ZTE launched the world’s leading vIMS network for Telefonica in its seven branches in Latin America. This network provides HD voice, HD video, FMC and other various services, bringing brand new service experiences to users. Meanwhile, ZTE helps Telefonica significantly reduce OPEX through the control plane deployed in a centralized manner as well as intelligent and automated operation and maintenance.

ZTE deployed vEPC/NFVI for VEON in 5 countries, leveraging the geographic disaster recovery mechanism to ensure network security. The one-key installation tool finishes end-to-end deployment in 4 hours, highly appraised by Ovum/Light Reading.

At the China SDN/NFV Conference 2017, ZTE debuted with its Carrier DevOps platform and Cloud Native Telecom APPs (5G Next Gen Core and vEPC) on this platform. In the context of accelerated transformation of SDN/NFV, ZTE helps operators speed up service innovation and on boarding.

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