Crack the Code of Tomorrow’s Network

This will allow CSPs to build their telco software platforms in the cloud(s), treating the network as code so it can be used and consumed...

“The ecosystem archetype may appeal to traditional operators eager to lean into self-disruption because of the great revenue pressures they face,” according to McKinsey & Company’s A blueprint for telecom’s critical reinvention

Standards bodies are actively working to enable open, ecosystem-ready networking. The 3GPP 5G Advanced working group, for example, is preparing its release 18 for issue sometime in 2023. That update will create new opportunities for wireless, wired and Internet of Things (IoT) networks to be orchestrated, operated, managed, and exposed for service creation.

The evolution of edge computing will also make a difference for CSPs in terms of how service chains are orchestrated, levels of edge performance, and the technical ability to integrate and utilize edge potential. 

Realizing the “digital transformation promise” of 5G

The call for scalable, software-centric, intent-driven networks goes back to the early days when 5G was just being conceived. Only now are the capabilities really available for CSPs to realize that vision and become the digital service providers (DSPs) their transformation journey has been driving toward. (See Figure 2)

In the short- to medium-term (for example, within the next 48 months), “execution-oriented adoption” of critical technology enablers such as cloud-native solutions and zero-touch automation will lay the foundation for future value creation. APIs and abstraction at each level — whether infrastructure, network operations or the data fabric — will be a critical bridge to value creation. This will allow CSPs to build their telco software platforms in the cloud(s), treating the network as code so it can be used and consumed in an infinite variety of ways.

Ultimately, doing so will lead to federated data models and the ability to manage entire “networks of networks” in the cloud. These will combine access (terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks), transport, global cloud platforms and, ultimately, network and operations in well-orchestrated service chains.

Figure 2: Creating the network of the future
click to enlarge

If it all sounds exciting but slightly daunting, CSPs shouldn’t worry. They don’t have to do this alone; in fact, they can’t. The network as code concept requires CSPs and software vendors to work together and collaborate seamlessly with cloud players.

There also need to be new collaborative arrangements inside the CSP organizations themselves, among chief technology officers (CTOs), chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs), to build the right software platform in the right way — as the only path to value creation in the next decade.


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