I recently returned from 5G World held in London at the ExCeL from June 13 to June 17. Throughout the show, there was a lot of spirited discussion around 5G architecture, including the various options for splits being defined in 3GPP, the Standalone Mode and Non-Standalone Mode implementation, as well as deployment considerations around performance and latency. Many of the panel sessions focused on the principles and tradeoffs that Communications Service Providers (CSPs) face as they seek to build their next generation software-centric networks with open source technology.
Some of the most intriguing discussions were around specific use cases driving 5G from operators like KDDI, NTT, DoCoMo, SKT, BT/EE. We also discussed how connected devices (IoT) have spurred on more questions around regulation, zero error margin requirements and strict latency. Today, both professionals and lay-people alike are depending on technology to protect their homes, to have (or perform) a successful remote surgery, or to use a robot to perform everyday chores. The business case for 5G has never been debated, but the approach of creating new technology for the right use case versus fitting the shoe the other way around, was an obvious ‘take-away’ from this event.
During the event, I also had the chance to sit down with Monica Paolini with Senza Fili Consulting to discuss how these specific use cases as well as the role of Mobile Edge Computing (MEC). in driving 5G.
“MEC is a key component of edge computing which introduces a fundamental shift in our network architecture that is highly complementary to 5G. By moving core functions that have been traditionally located in a central location to the edge, operators can bring latency further down to meet 5G requirements and support ultra-low latency applications such as VR and AR. But also MEC – especially in conjunction with indoor densification – drives a wide range of enterprise applications, for access, private networks and IIoT, as it gives the enterprise the ability to support locally the services it needs.”
From my perspective, our efforts to drive and support the open source ecosystem is vital to enabling CSPs to roll-out 5G services rapidly. Industry initiatives such as the open CORD project, vRAN, and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) and densification have become fundamental elements in the 5G roadmap. Radisys remains uniquely positioned to help CSPs build their next-gen software-centric networks with open source technology, preparing for 5G – which is not far away from realization!
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