DoT Seeks reduced pricing for airwaves ahead of 5G Spectrum Auction

Now is the time for operators to look towards virtualization to prepare for the 5G future: Mavenir

5G and Cloud are two inextricably linked technologies. 5G will bring a massive change to cloud computing and revolutionize every business sector man works in. CSPs will need multi-purpose, high-fidelity, real-time visibility across all layers of the network to assure performance. Ideally, they will want a solution that offers a single, integrated platform that works on any legacy or cloud-based network.

Mavenir is building the future of networks and pioneering advanced technology, focusing on the vision of a single, software-based automated network that runs on any cloud.

Sanjay Bakaya, Country Head- India & Regional Vice President- India & South Asia at Mavenir, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

V&D: How is Mavenir building the future of networks with cloud-native software?

Sanjay: We are building the future of networks with cloud-native software that runs on any cloud and transforms the way the world connects, realizing new services and the promise of 5G and beyond.

For example, the Converged Packet Core Solution providing an end-to-end fully containerized 5G Core product portfolio with combo nodes for 2G/3G and 4G support.

Another example is the Mavenir WebScale Platform, where operators can now run applications not just in large central data centers, but also out to the edge and into enterprises.

It is the common software across Mavenir products and services that enables agility and speed in the delivery of new applications, as well as the adoption of new technologies. It is unique because it brings the best practices from the hyper-scale cloud and IT industries for rapid design, development, testing and rollout.

V&D: What are the examples in India, so far?

Sanjay: Indian Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are closely engaged with us on our Core and OpenRAN for both 4G and 5G, joint innovation for the development of an ecosystem to have a deployment of this technology at a scale to achieve cost efficiency to provide more choice to operators and compete with legacy equipment providers.

It is a tectonic shift from a traditional vendor locked vertically integrated approach that have to be forklifted with every new G. OpenRAN provides dis-aggregated solutions using Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (CoTS) equipment and Open interface based radio head partners.

Our solutions in Packet Core, IMS, OpenRAN, Messaging etc. are already deployed and in use at various CSPs in India. We also participating in the BSNL 4G requirements to contribute towards building a self-reliant India in the Telcom gear space.

V&D: Do you think a common 4G/5G network is the immediate future for operators? 

Sanjay: 5G networks are designed to work in conjunction with 4G networks using a range of macro cells, small cells and dedicated in-building systems. With the advent of widespread Internet of Things (IoT) adoption in enterprise applications including manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, and more, alongside an increasing dependence on smartphones and always connected computers, the constraints of 4G LTE technology are prompting mobile network operators to embark on an accelerated rollout of 5G communications to keep pace with the network demands of today and the very near future.

Now is the time for operators to look towards virtualization to prepare for the 5G future. Our Cloud-Native, disaggregated and virtualized solutions are the best option for having a network ready for 5G while continuing to serve existing 4G customers on the same infrastructure.

The Converged Packet Core solution uses cloud-native architecture with granular microservices, following web-scale principles which provide the required scalability, agility, and reliability to meet the wide range of 5G use cases and stringent 5G performance requirements for e2e latency, high throughput demand and overall network availability.

V&D: How will you provide enhanced wireless coverage for rural communities?

Sanjay: With the pandemic pushing employees to work from home and students to remote learning environments, gaps in internet access have become more prevalent, the opportunity to provide better coverage to rural communities are available to local carriers through increased access to the spectrum. The rural market requires a solution that can economically support the small number of users in that geography.

We have been participating and driving OpenRAN business transformation which is a low-cost solution for the rural market & will have better TCO in the urban market as well. Our OpenRAN solution can help CSPs to extend their wireless coverage to rural communities cost-effectively.

V&D: How are the enterprise private networks evolving?

 Sanjay: Historically, CSPs have built, operated, and owned mobile and fixed wireless networks. Now, as digital transformation shifts priorities within enterprises and industries, organizations find value in owning, managing, and operating their own network, and that demand is growing. Easier access to spectrum, more flexible open network options and a growing ecosystem of integrators and niche Service Providers (SPs) is making private cellular far easier, even as demand grows with IoT and industrial transformation.

CSPs too are considering ways to tap into the burgeoning enterprise and industry transformation opportunity. Also, the pandemic prompts enterprises and governments to pull forward and broaden the scope of their digital transformations, primarily for business resiliency and cost‐reduction purposes, but also for tapping into new market opportunities. There is significant interest across verticals in leveraging 5G, as well as other new technologies such as AI and Edge Computing, to adapt economies and societies to the new normal.

V&D: How are you cloudifying your own portfolio?

 Sanjay: We believe that cloud-native is the way of the future, having watched the large enterprise, webscale players such as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google operate at a super large scale. We have expanded and cloudified our portfolio with various solutions such as WebScale Platform, AI & Analytics, Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC), and Digital Enablement Platform.

These solutions support the ongoing cloudification of the mobile networks to enable CSPs to meet the growing data demands on their networks. Mavenir Webscale Platform (MWP) is a next-generation cloud-native solution that includes Kubernetes based CaaS (Containers as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and MTCIL (Telecom PaaS layer) along with a management layer that includes full FCAPS, analytics, slice management and service orchestration.

This helps in moving applications to Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) computing servers and embracing a complete ecosystem with applications in the Cloud (private, hybrid or public) and bring automation to improve the way operators manage and operate their networks. Also, to CSPs, this provides more flexibility and agility enabling the introduction of new services not only in the traditional consumer business but also in the enterprise arena.

V&D: What will be the impact on transportation and transmission for 5G networks?

 Sanjay: We all know that 5G is going to provide much higher bandwidth than the previous generation of telecom services. Support of higher bandwidth also going to put pressure on the underlying transport network infra, so this needs to be enhanced and modernized. The impact will not be just on capacity as 5G Use cases apart from bandwidth (eMBB) will also require ultra-reliable low latency communication (URLLC), Massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC) & higher scalability.

All this requires transport networks just not to be upgraded but re-architected as well. On the Radio side with Massive MIMO and distributed RAN architecture, various requirements will be imposed on the transport network connecting these (RRU, DU & CU) systems positioned at various locations supporting various topologies in line with CSP strategies.

Due to various 5G Use cases, traffic pattern in 5G will be much more dynamic, it is expected that the underlying transport network should be able to react in near real-time to meet these changing demands.

V&D: What are your future plans?

Sanjay: We are building a strong team to engage with mobile operators and change the mobile network economics through innovation and software. We have over 3000+ full-time engineers in India/South Asia region with offices in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Gurugram, and we plan to further expand our R&D Center at Bengaluru. We will be innovating and working on opportunities for data core and virtualized RAN-based on the Open RAN global initiative, besides leveraging our strong global VoLTE experience by supporting our customers in shifting from legacy circuit-switched systems. Going forward, we will be offering innovative, new services that will generate revenues for operators.

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