CISCO Pitches for 5G at TLF 2022

Anand Bhaskar, Managing Director, Global Service Provider Business, Cisco India & SAARC delivered a keynote address on the future of the internet, 5G

Josun J
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Anand Bhaskar min

Anand Bhaskar, Managing Director, Global Service Provider Business, Cisco India & SAARC delivered a leader's keynote address on the future of the internet and 5G, at the recently held 21st Edition of Voice&Data’s Telecom Leadership Forum.


Quoting Marshall Goldsmith, ‘what got you here, won’t get you there,’ Anand mentioned the quote as a constant reminder of the need to change, evolve and accelerate the cadence of innovation in order to continue to be successful.

Prior to the pandemic, thanks to 4G, internet traffic was already growing at a fairly rapid pace. “Now, in the new normal, and the two years in between, we need to acknowledge and commend the stellar role that our service providers across the world and especially in India have played to help us all pivot to some sense of semblance of a new normal”, had it not been for them, Anand continued, the economic impact of not being connected would have been nothing short of catastrophic.

Businesses are facing a completely new set of priorities. First, they have to reimagine how they design, develop and deploy their applications. That was true before too, but it has only got heightened on account of the pandemic. Applications are how services are delivered and consumed by customers, by employees and the entire ecosystem. Applications earlier on used to be an adjunct or an extension to the business, but in a lot of cases, today, they are the business. “It's so critical for CTOs and CIOs to reimagine how they transform their entire infrastructure. Second, in the connected world, the network is the nervous system that allows everything to work together and in a seamless manner. So while on the one hand, it has created limitless possibilities. On the other hand, it has introduced incredible complexity. Third, security has always been of critical importance to customers and to businesses across and now, it has become even more important, even more complex with the pandemic expanding the attack surface almost exponentially. So securing the data becomes another critical imperative for the CTOs and CIOs. And last, if the pandemic taught us anything, it is that work is not a place you go to. In fact, it's something that you do from anywhere. Given that, change in perspective, customers will have more employees than ever working remotely, either permanently or in hybrid work. So customers must be able to empower their teams irrespective, in this entire hybrid work scenario. These four priorities that I outlined have a significant impact on the network and Cisco has been helping service providers transform the entire network economics.


We are doing this by helping our customers grow their revenue through new market opportunities, either in the enterprise space or in the consumer space. We help them by reducing their costs, by reducing the complexity of the network, automating operations, mitigating the risk with trust, and security support, and last but not least, also providing financial structuring for the overall proposition.

Let's start by taking a hard look at the internet today. Quite frankly, the underbelly of the internet is horrifyingly messy due to the legacy and the issues that rapid growth brings along with it. The biggest problem, IP and optical networks operate in silos and are often in conflict. A tradition of using separate networks with multi-layered architectures is now unproductive, complex, and expensive to operate.

What's the solution? Routed Optical Networking allows us to converge IP transport functions with optical interconnects,  simplifying these network layers, which drives a huge amount of savings. We must simplify the Internet to deliver future experiences and the immense and significant need for bandwidth going forward. More importantly, with the economics being managed, an opportunity to connect the underserved and close the digital divide.


If you look at these two areas, we see a shift happening on four broad dimensions. First and foremost is the flattening of the network, which means de-layering complex service provider networks that is currently there, ensuring that there is an end-to-end software-defined network, there is an end to end automation to enable intelligent services, telemetry, IoT, so on and so forth. That is a very important portion if you have to improve the network economics. Second, very important is the data center transformation. As we proliferate mobile broadband networks, data happens at the edge. And the second major transformation is all about creating disaggregated data center architectures to capture the data where it gets produced. That is the most important priority. Data is perishable. If you delay processing, you lose value. Mobile edge compute, service edge compute, wherein data is analyzed at the edge, processed, security applied, and then value extracted and given back to the consumer. To enable that operators are resorting to leaf and spine architectures so that they don't have to bring data all the way back to the core.

Traditionally, this was done at the core, but now more and more data gets processed, and sort of value extracted at the edge. So this is the second important transformation that we're seeing. The third one is the uberisation of the OSS/BSS. Historically, we have built monolithic fault management and field management, ticketing and billing systems. Now, we are in an age of digital value creation. Consumers should now have the ability to provision their bills payments online. This calls for a shift to a very different model. What in my view, we call the 2.0 of OSS/BSS. Lastly, as data becomes our mainstream business, enabling enterprises and critical structures becomes very much mainstream, and to enable that we have to take care of data at every stage of the network. Hence, ensuring security is front and center of every change we make on the network.

Now let me explain how 5G helps solve these priorities and at the same time, opens up new opportunities. Firstly, it will help CTOs and CIOs reimagine their application. With the ability to transmit huge amounts of data at faster speeds. 5G will help bridge the gap between customers, apps, and business technologies. Second, 5G will also help transform the overall network infrastructure. 5G is designed to support an almost close to 100x increase in traffic capacity and deliver network efficiency. With 5G businesses will be able to create multiple virtual networks with just one physical system. It will also help boost real-time predictive maintenance, and smarter automation, which in turn will enable developing new business models.


5G will also help secure data. 5G encrypts more data, it is more secure and less prone to interception. 5G is also much more software and cloud-based system than the previous wireless networks, which will allow for better monitoring and spot potential threats much in advance. Last but not the least, 5G will also help empower teams, because 5G allows millions of devices to connect simultaneously. And in addition, given the fact that by nature it delivers much higher data speeds, much lower latency, and higher reliability, it helps provide a much more uniform experience to all users, especially in a hybrid world.

In summary, as we redefine the future of the internet in the 5G era, it will be marked by a transformation of monumental significance. Long ago, data ran over voice networks, dial-up modems over telephone lines at higher speeds, the economics inverted and voice over IP ran over data networks. IP services will no longer primarily run over optical networks. Instead, optical services will join the rest of the legacy services and primarily run over IP networks.

The advent of 5G opens a new world of possibilities for every industry. The benefits are spread across industries that are on the cusp of their digital journeys, be it manufacturing, logistics, education,  financial services, smart cities, you name it, and we will be able to transform that. These networks play a crucial role in providing a competent platform to support the widespread adoption of critical communication services and driving the digitization agenda. We at Cisco are engaging in 360-degree partnerships with all leading service providers to help prepare their networks for 5G by enabling an open, intelligent, and secure network platform. Secondly, by helping digitize their operations, and last but not the least, enhancing their go-to-market strategies to help build the internet of the future and secure much better returns on their investment.

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