5G Networks and Public cloud

July | 2021

Introduction

Now that 5g is being deployed worldwide, it is but natural that cloud application will play a major part across all sectors of the Network operations. Let us explore the various sectors and see how the advent of 5G will affect the conventional Network operations.

Back-office systems

Normally you will find that there is a natural inertia to move from the existing infrastructure to cloud. The mobile operators already have their website and mobile applications on the cloud but the major data load of their back office support systems still remain on private infrastructure. This data is actually perfectly suited to be moved to the cloud. Some operators have already started to move this data to the cloud and it will not be long before others follow suit. We can expect this transition to happen by 2022.

5G mobile edge

5G and public cloud intersect with each other at the network edge. Currently cloud services are deployed in the operator’s data centre. This data centre usually operates behind the Network core on the N6 interface. All the current big cloud players, namely: AWS, Azure and Google cloud are present in this domain. This collaboration would allow the end users to directly access edge services and specially those services which are not practically possible in a centralized data center.

Private mobile networks

With ORAN in 5G we are seeing emergence on private players who are competing or working together with the telecom operators. Whereas operators own the spectrum and the Network the private players have enterprise ready solutions .They are providing specific and challenging solutions to large scale enterprises and also wide ranging services based on various IOT based services to specific individual users. These private players use the edge services via public cloud to provide their services. In very near future we will see more and more of such third party private players entering this sector.  .

Network functions

One field where the conventional physical data centers are still dominant is for the core network and for the related critical network functions. This is mostly because of the Network operators concern for the security, control and reliability. Currently even if any of these functions are moved to the cloud the operators prefer to use private cloud where the control is with them.

Recently though, some operators have moved some of the operators have started using the public cloud for some niche services on a case to case basis. We will have to wait for some time more for the Network operators to embrace the Public cloud for their critical network functions.

Network operators as distributors/ gateway for public cloud services

The Network operators generally have a large geographical reach and in most cases it is spread across the country. This makes them an interesting proposition for serving as a distributor or a gateway for providing public cloud services. Already some operators are doing it. However with the emergence of 5G, this sector has opened up a plethora of new opportunities which the Network operators can exploit.

We can expect to see exponential growth sooner than later in this sector.

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