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Network Transformation

Introduction

Demand for network services have been growing over the last years and continuing till today. For example, Internet of Things devices requires connection 24/7, rapid builds of smart cities, building, devices and cars. These are beyond the services delivered by traditional telecommunications providers. These service providers capitalize the growth and moving to digitalization.

What drives transformation

There’s a massive increase in network traffic and it introduce operational complexity. As such, drives service providers into the digital transformation. In next sections we will bump into network function virtualization (NFV) or software defined networking (SDN).
In a communication service provider network, there is much interest in the operational aspects of the network e.g. continuous collection of events and information the traffic, the health of the system and then the concern with the service life management of those platforms. The big question is how do I continue to ensure that these platforms are secure, upgrading the applications, the operating systems to meet the security requirements. These are the reason why were looking at transformation. The network function virtualization, it’s a means to end these concerns, means to change the way we build and operate the networks. We linearly try to grow our networks at the point that our traffic is increasing but this is unsustainable because the traffic in the network is growing exponentially and providers can’t exponentially invest in more infrastructure into the network or can exponentially invest in the operations, the staff that’s necessary in order to transform that network at that rate. In order to cope up with this traffic growth rate, Network Functions Virtualization comes into the picture.

Typical Service Provider Network

Access Network
These are ingress points where will lead you deeper to the network. These may be a digital subscriber line or Wireless (or Mobile) radio network. You will actually redirected to the network premises for subscription verification and/or bill recording then subsequent routing.  
Customer Premises Equipment (CPE)
This is were the traffic are aggregated depending on the service that is requested this is where transport are selected and analyzed. Traffic profiling (analytics) is also taking place in order to evaluate the health and capacity of the network. As mentioned earlier, we are putting an end to the way we deal with equipment life cycle and management. Growing the network in a linear approach is unsustainable due to fast traffic growth rate. This is why NFV comes in.  

5G

5G is 5th-generation radio access network and it is often referred as the real used case that will drive the network function virtualization and SDN deep into the core network. 5G is really the transformation that’s going to take place.  Not only the people but also the billion of devices that are going into the network. In order to accommodate those resources, it is required to drive the functionality into a network that’s transformative.
Because of the connectivity aspect of these devices, the compute resources we’re going to be quite varied depending on the types of devices that are in there and because of the access into that Cloud of the network. The element that really brings that all together and when we talk about 5G,  sometimes we think about it as the aspects in the radio access portion of the network but apparently it goes deeper in to the core.

When talking about transformation, it is important to look into the infrastructure attributes i.e. total cost of ownership -> power consumptions, security, performance, location..etc

5G – Network Slicing

Network slicing is the allocation of resources and discriminate them into certain functional categories based on the needs of devices that are going to be in the network.



As 5g door is now open service providers now have to evaluate the impact in the current network architecture. Questions will arise such as which elements or domain will require transformation and which Core Elements destined for network transformation. We have to think about maintaining service like voice, data and messaging traffic. Interoperability of technologies and obsoleting some service –> legacy voice traffic, 3G Voice/GPRS, 4G/VoLTE, messaging SMS/MMS.
Every service providers must be able to expand sustainably (NFV approach) . 
Specially for those who are working in the telco industry, hope this short write-up on Network transformation gave an insight what is to come.  
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