Spotlight on Tech

Accelerating 5G with Symcloud™’s cloud-native, Kubernetes-powered automated orchestration and lifecycle management

Brooke Frischemeier
Head of Product Management, Unified Cloud
Rakuten Symphony
May 23, 2023
minute read

5G and edge opportunities bring operators the potential for enormous revenue growth. However, as they look to leverage the immense potential of 5G and edge applications, to improve profitability and market share, they must ensure that their network services are delivered seamlessly – faster, automated, at low cost on a larger scale than ever before.

This naturally drives the need for the adoption of highly automated, cloud-native architectures through the software containerization of network functions (NFs) for both 5G connectivity and services. Additionally, they must run alongside existing legacy NFs running as Virtual Machines (VMs) and all these services must be supported by an automated deployment and orchestration platform, reducing the number of steps it takes to manage their many lifecycle events.

It is important to note that we are focusing on more than just the 5G network itself. As we have learned several times over, it is not just about connectivity, as there are substantial revenue gains to be had by way of Over The Top (OTT) services. Furthermore, many of these new services are becoming network-aware, driving the need for new platforms that support 5G connectivity and services in a shared, secure environment. A solution for simultaneous efficiency that eradicates operation silos is necessary for success - and we have just the approach with Symcloud™, recognized as a “platform leader” in Edge Cloud.  

Critical challenges in 5G and Edge rollouts

As 5G use cases and applications require unprecedented mobility, security, low latency and tighter integration between wireless and business-critical applications, intelligent infrastructure and automation technologies are being increasingly adopted worldwide. This is proving to be the backbone of successful, competitive services for providers thriving in delivering Industry 4.0 and 5G applications worldwide.

Telecom service providers today are facing some challenges in their 5G and Edge deployments, including:

  • Increasing network complexity: 5G and Edge networks are much more complex than their previous generations of networks, with a larger number of components and technologies that need to be integrated and managed, all of which must be highly tuned and managed for real-time environments. This can make it difficult for service providers to ensure that their networks are performing optimally delivering high-quality services to their customers.
  • Orchestrating and automating massive infrastructures: 5G networks promise high speed, lower latency, network slices and improved coverage. However, achieving these results requires a significant increase in the number of managed elements. The industry estimates call for a range of 50 to 100 base stations per square kilometer in order to meet customer demands. Without specifically tailored infrastructure at the edge to the backend, 5G will not be able to deliver on its promise.
  • Interoperability: Ensuring that 5G and Edge networks can interoperate with existing 4G networks and other legacy technologies is challenging, especially since open 5G standards are still evolving and many 3G/4G/LTE deployment models are stuck in the past. As they do so, more and more vendors will come into play, all requiring degrees of interoperability and all cloud resources. Regardless of where they are today, change is coming soon, as many virtualized 4G/LTE networks are running on soon-to-be end-of-life/support hardware and software, necessitating a cloud-native migration strategy.
  • Security concerns: Interwoven 5G and Edge services introduce new security risks, as they can be co-located in multiuser environments, as well as feedback and influence one another. At the far edge, where resources are scarce, they may even be collocated in the same clusters or nodes, where resource pools must be secure and monitored for utilization. Long gone are the days of simple firewalls and encryption schemes. Today’s solution calls for a physical and virtual layered approach.
  • Competition: With the increased competition in the telecommunication industry, service providers are under tremendous pressure to offer new and innovative services at attractive prices to retain customers and attain new ones. Therefore, all operators must adopt new models, like GitOps, to rapidly transform their infrastructure and deploy and iterate on new services.

Symcloud™ offers a single-point solution to all of these complexities. It is built from the ground up with automation and ease of use in mind that covers all of the needs of a complete core-to-edge solution. 

Symcloud represents a brand-new approach to managing enterprise and telco infrastructure, software applications and services in an end-to-end cloud-native way. It has proven the flexibility and efficiency benefits in production and at scale by successfully running complex 5G services, including the most demanding Open RAN workloads such as Radio (Central Unit and Distributed Unit) on Kubernetes. 

This industry-leading telco edge cloud based on Kubernetes which currently supports the entire 5G ecosystem for multiple operators and their millions of subscribers. Symcloud™ delivers real savings and operational benefits besides the flexibility and agility of rolling out innovative solutions far beyond the traditional hardware-driven approach, making the economical delivery of 5G services possible and delivering unmatched user experiences.

Learn more about Symcloud™ here.

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