· The new F5 CNFs will be widely accessible at Rakuten Symphony Symworld.

· Rakuten Mobile will use the CNFs in its cloud-native 5G network in Japan.

Rakuten Symphony and F5

Rakuten Symphony and F5 announced that they would make F5’s new BIG-IP Next Cloud-Native Network Functions (CNFs) available through Rakuten Symphony’s SymworldTM marketplace to a global customer base. Representing the evolution of a long-standing relationship, which began with F5 delivering security functions to Rakuten Mobile, this partnership intends to facilitate the deployment of fully cloud-native security and networking capabilities for telecom operators.

F5 CNFs provide a wide range of capabilities, dynamic elasticity, and scale, allowing continuous deployment and automation with a compact footprint. The functions including BIG-IP Next Edge Firewall CNF, BIG-IP Next Policy Enforcer CNF, BIG-IP Next DNS CNF, and BIG-IP Next CGNAT CNF, will be generally available later this year. They’ll support a wide range of use cases that can be installed quickly and efficiently to protect and improve 5G deployments.

Traditionally, software application deployment in a mobile network requires manual testing and installation, which may take months, if not years. Furthermore, once in the network, lifecycle maintenance of these applications can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

Thanks to the availability of F5 CNFs in the Symworld marketplace, Rakuten Symphony and F5 are striving to accelerate and simplify this process for telecom operators with cloud-native functions and a delivery strategy that cuts application deployment from months and years to minutes and hours. This allows F5 to enter the market faster and provides telecom operators with a significantly enhanced network upgrade cadence, which is crucial for assuring security.

Rakuten Mobile will also use F5’s BIG-IP Next CNFs in its 5G network in Japan. This deployment is the outcome of three years of collaboration between Rakuten and F5, which included the implementation of the world’s first end-to-end, completely virtualized 4G network. F5 and Rakuten used their combined skills to streamline operations, improve security, and optimize traffic for Rakuten Mobile’s cloud-native 5G deployment.

The Symworld marketplace was designed to make the process of telecom application onboarding easier for all Symworld clients by making authorized applications widely available. The Symworld platform digitalizes all telecom processes for planning, installing, securing, and monitoring software in real telecom networks are digitalized by the Symworld platform, which makes Symworld marketplace apps deployable with a click.

Experts’ view

Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony, Inc., said, “F5 has been a key partner to Rakuten’s journey in becoming a mobile operator. We have actively collaborated on what needs to change in the industry for many years and I am more than excited to be able to announce that F5’s newly developed products will be deployed by Rakuten Mobile and offered through Symworld. In this day and age, it is not acceptable for software delivery to be complicated and cumbersome in the telecom industry when it is not like this elsewhere in other industries. The simplicity delivered by this collaboration will enable faster deployment, more participation, and more innovation in the industry.”

Ahmed Guetari, VP of Products for Service Providers at F5, said, “Once service providers can harness cloud-native technologies and the power of cloud operating models on their own terms, they will change their trajectory toward a bright future. We are, therefore, delighted to be working with Rakuten—one of the world’s most cloud-savvy and forward-thinking service providers – to integrate our new cloud-native software into both the Rakuten Mobile network in Japan and the Symworld marketplace. Together with Rakuten Symphony, we are looking forward to enabling service providers across the world to easily deploy F5’s expanding suite of cloud-native network functions to enrich and protect their 5G networks and offerings.”