Cisco continues on its industry path of disruption by redefining the network at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), after announcing that its ‘5G Now’ portfolio for service providers is ready to go full throttle on their 5G roadmap.
But what is the big 5G hype really all about? Well, 5G services promise to offer emerging new services at significantly faster speeds, expanded capacity and stronger coverage to accommodate the 27 billion connected devices expected on service provider networks by 2021. Beginning 2020, 5G connections are only predicted to rise, with an expected growth of 1000% (that is not a typo, yes that’s right, a thousand!) from 2.3 million in 2020 to over 25 million by 2021.
Cisco acknowledged that many technology vendors at MWC are focused on the spectrum advantages, radio equipment and architecture to support 5G services. Cisco say that it is committed to showing service providers and mobile operators why 5G is important to plan for, and what they can really do with it. The company say its role, has been, and is, focused on three things:
- Services: Planning for new 5G-enabled services that it can help deliver
- Infrastructure: Mapping the right 5G infrastructure to specific needs
- Automation: Helping to make the mass network scaling for 5G simpler to manage, operate and secure
The company say it uniquely offers its customers a cloud-to-client approach for 5G networking, resulting from its investments and commitment to developing cloud applications and services, to help customers unify multi-vendor solutions into a single, standards-based architecture. Cisco say that the key elements in its ‘5G Now’ portfolio include:
- Multi-cloud: Helping manage workloads across a full ecosystem of private, public, and hybrid clouds to connect enterprise, consumers, and service providers.
- IP Core: The company say it can expand programmability and capabilities of the network with real-time telemetry for automation, featuring the new Cisco NCS-500 Series of access routers with the Cisco IOS XR software as a single domain from the data centre to the cell tower.
- 5G Packet Core and Service Edge: With Cisco Ultra, its cloud-native, mobile virtualised packet core, Cisco says it provides a unified platform for service enablement over licensed and unlicensed radio solutions and IoT services – all the way to the network edge.
- Access: Cisco also acknowledges that its offers a comprehensive solution that unifies cable, fibre, Wi-Fi, and a variety of licensed radio solutions including virtualised RAN architectures such as Open RAN. The new Cisco SONFlex Studio features drag-and-drop ease to create new self-organising network (SON) APIs to customise service handling and quality of experience in the radio access network.
- Client Services: This is where the cloud meets the customer. The company say that they have used MWC as a platform to demonstrate a number of client services that can be delivered including Managed CiscoSpark for collaboration service over mobile, virtual managed services for cloud-based SD-WAN business services, and the Cisco Jasper platform for IoT.
- Security: The maker also says it secures the Service Provider from the cloud, to the network, to the client with its new 5G Security Architecture that builds upon the comprehensive portfolio of threat-centric solutions to securely enable 5G mobile networks. New offers include Stealthwatch for enhanced breach detection and visibility within Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and network slices, Stealthwatch Cloud for cloud-managed network security, and the Cisco Umbrella Security Suite.
- Professional Services: The company takes an open approach to partnering and co-developing with its customers to fit the right solution, offering experienced personnel to support the customers’ teams from start to finish.
According to the company more than 20 global service provider and mobile operator customers worldwide are advancing their 5G action plans with Cisco, including Saudi Telecom Company (STC). Yvette Kanouff, senior vice president, general manager, Service Provider Business, Cisco adds, “5G creates a new environment for service creation, giving operators what they need to deliver next-level entertainment experiences. Only Cisco has the services, infrastructure and automation portfolio to support our global customers with their 5G initiatives.”