Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)

From 1G (first generation) to 5G (fifth generation), technology has evolved rapidly. These profound changes take one step ahead in wireless networks’ evolution as we move into a new era of human interaction. And you don’t have to wait longer for the day when everything will be tech-related. That day will arrive soon! We are entering the world of the fourth industrial revolution.

5G network virtualization (5G NV) – today’s needs and tomorrow’s future!

5G is either humankind’s greatest forthcoming blessing or its greatest impending curse. The coming time will decide. It’s yet to be commercialized, but the technology has already been the most polarizing enhancement we have ever seen in communication.

Users worldwide are captivated by promises of super-fast download speeds, next-level mobile phone communication, and split-second responsiveness. 5G network is a piece of pie that everyone wants.

There might be so many questions revolving in your head – how does 5G work? Why is 5G essential? And how it is changing the way the world connects and communicates? Blah, blah, blah….this is the place where you will find all answers to your questions.

So, why are we waiting? Let’s begin the journey into the world of 5G network virtualization.

How does 5G work?

5G is the fifth-generation mobile network that virtually connects everything, including devices, machines, and objects. Like 4G LTE, 5G is also Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM)-based and will operate based on mobile networking principles. In fact, the new 5G NR (New Radio) air interface will enhance OFDM to deliver much higher scalability and flexibility.

In comparison to 4G LTE, 5G will explore service areas such as connecting the massive internet of things (IoT) and mission-critical communications. This is allowed by many new 5G NR air interface design techniques, such as a novel self-contained TDD subframe design.

Where is 5G being used?

Simply put, 5G is exclusively used across three significant connected services, namely, massive IoT (Internet of Things), advanced mobile broadband, and mission-critical communications.

What is 5G network virtualization?

Devoid of virtualization, 5G will not be able to meet its connectivity requirements. Network virtualization (NV) consolidates software and hardware resources into a software-based virtual network. It is increasingly gaining popularity among mobile network operators (MNOs) to manage their spectrum while maintaining their costs effectively.

5G commercialization is scurrying as more than 80 operators in over 40 economies are expected to have launched 5G services until end of 2020. With the sum of spectrum offered for 5G, networks integrate both mmWave and Sub-6 GHz to achieve the capacity and coverage required to power various applications and services.

Although interoperable interfaces are becoming an important tool to address 5G needs, while still needing optimized System-on-Chip (SoC) solutions to support processing loads and high data rates, enhanced features such as 5G Sub-6 GHz massive MIMO and mmWave. For instance, Qualcomm Technologies is always working hard to take wireless systems to new heights. Thus, it is developing 5G leadership to create the network semiconductor technology that will support the transition toward virtualized and interoperable networks.

The company recently launched novel offerings in 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) Platform portfolio:

  • Qualcomm Radio Unit (QRU) Platform
  • Qualcomm Distributed Unit (QDU) Platform
  • Qualcomm Distributed Radio (QDR) Unit Platform

For instance, AT and amp;T inked a deal for about USD 2 billion deal to shift its US operations to Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure, including the joint development of AI (artificial intelligence) tools and 5G apps. The Philippine provider Globe Telecom adopted a cloud-first policy using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to lower costs.

What are the types of network virtualization?

There are two main types of network virtualization:

  • External virtualization: to enhance network efficiency, external virtualization combines multiple local networks into a single virtual system.
  • Internal virtualization: it is designed to use software containers to duplicate the functionality of a single network.

Network virtualization in cloud computing

Network virtualization in computing is the process that separates the management plane from the control plane by combining cloud-based resources to create a working virtual network.

Network virtualization benefits

  • Boosts IT (information technology) productivity
  • Enhances security and recovery times
  • Faster application delivery

For instance, Gigamon provides an integrated network virtualization platform solution using the GigaSECURE Security Delivery Platform for both VMware NSX and ESX network virtualization.

Interoperability in 5G

OpenRAN (Open radio-access networks/O-RAN) promises to make 5G networks more flexible while boosting innovation. Thus, it is an alternative way of building networks that promises greater interoperability and more competition.

Interoperability testing of a 5G O-RAN is like interoperability testing of a 4G RAN. 5G interoperability testing includes the testing of a gNodeB (gNB). Thus, it allows the virtualization and transformation of the RAN for 5G.

Interoperability guidelines for 5G will help secure next-generation wireless systems. If all 5G technology is interoperable, organizations and nations will select technology modules from more than one 5G technology supplier. For instance, Huawei, a Chinese telecom company, is the only major 5G equipment supplier that is rejecting to make its technology fully interoperable.

If a vulnerability is discovered, interoperability gives a network operator the capability to address concerns efficiently and replace compromised equipment.

Ways to achieve network virtualization

  • Centralized radio access networks (C-RANs)
  • Cell virtualization
  • Network function virtualization (NFV)
  • Network slicing or virtual service instances

It’s a wrap

Networking 5G is soon gonna change the way we live, play, and work. But for that to happen first, we need to re-engineer the architecture of the network. Virtualization is a reflective step toward the emancipation of 5G’s genuine capacity. Instead of hardware, moving network functions and management into software and the cloud, the network becomes more open, responsive, and agile.

Now, the choice is ours. 5G might be the technology that revolutionizes the way we live in the future, but only if we apply a similar extent of innovation to its safety as we are using to its development.

To find more value, visit our repository of the latest whitepapers on network.