Virtualization Technology News and Information
5G Core Deployments Look to a New Era of SaaS

By Fran Heeran, SVP & Head of Core Networks, Cloud and Network Services, at Nokia

Familiar to many and a long-standing business model in the broad tech world, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a well-established service structure that lets customers subscribe to cloud based applications without having to buy software upfront; build complex infrastructure; or deploy, maintain, and operate such services.

Those virtues are now helping SaaS take hold in the telecom network space, with more solutions being offered via SaaS to meet growing market needs, as communication service providers (CSPs) seek to maximize the 5G opportunity and realize returns on their 5G investment.

Now, the core network is the next evolution to come in telco SaaS adoption, offering CSPs and enterprises a fundamentally new way of building, deploying, and running core networks in order to launch new services faster and achieve "time to value" quicker, based on a pay-as-you-go / pay-as-you-grow commercial model.

Core through SaaS

Offering core in an "as-a-Service" model reworks how core networks are created, implemented, and run, using a self-service portal with minimal default configuration required to enable 5G Core capabilities.

The deployment itself will of course still require integration into a CSP's network. However the process is much more streamlined, offering a notable decrease in the time and effort traditionally required to design, build and deploy a conventional core network in a CSPs' environment. Core-as-a-Service deployments require a completely new framework that supply automated off-the-shelf ordering, capacity increase/decrease, billing, analytics and monitoring; the operation and maintenance of the network are guaranteed by site reliability engineers.

Once deployed, CSPs and enterprises can easily manage the core network's capacity scaling, billing and all other functions; helping minimize the typical complexities of core network operations and maintenance. Additional advantages of core SaaS include:

  1. On-demand network: Meeting demand is  generally not an issue with a SaaS model, as core network services are available when needed. Moreover, CSPs and enterprises do not need to make heavy up-front investments in software and infrastructure.
  2. Faster time-to-market: On-demand capabilities enable new services to be introduced more rapidly; and core through SaaS reduces the risk of launching services should they not get picked up by end-users and fail to produce the expected revenue.
  3. Simple and rapid scaling: If a service is more successful than anticipated, additional core capacity can be instantly added, and scaling the core network up or down as needed can be easily achieved. This is critical to ensure efficient use of resources in a pay-as-you go (and grow) model.
  4. Simplicity with OPEX-led approach: Core SaaS provides simplicity and a more predictive, OPEX-led approach. Because the pay-as-you-use business model aligns with actual demand, CSPs and enterprises can reduce investment cycles usually associated with deploying new technology.

Core SaaS has a range of clear benefits for various market segments, and comes with a few special characteristics. Unlike onsite, dedicated deployments, SaaS services are more uniform in terms of configuration, deployment options, connectivity and more. As a result, CSPs will choose from predefined options (allowing for some choice) with guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs) for the specific service.

You've got options - build or extend

We insert the Core SaaS model into a 3GPP architecture including slicing orchestration, thereby providing an extensive range of deployment models and services, whether the CSP is building a completely new end-to-end 5G core or deploying specific use cases alongside existing infrastructure. CSPs can select from an extensive service catalogue to meet specific needs, such as deploying a 5G data or voice core, or creating an IoT-optimized network. In addition, if extended network capabilities are required, CSPs and enterprises can easily order specialized core system packages.

Core-as-a-Service will usher in a new way to build and run 5G core networks and ultimately revolutionize the core network we've known for decades. It will encompass all of the ordering and operations that CSPs and enterprises still need to take on board. This on-demand, off-the-shelf and consumption-based ordering capability is on its way and not too far from being a commercial reality.




Fran Heeran is Senior Vice President & General Manager of the Core Networks business at Nokia. Over 25 years of experience in the telecommunications software industry including senior leadership positions in both global solution suppliers and service providers.

Published Thursday, April 14, 2022 7:31 AM by David Marshall
Filed under: ,
There are no comments for this post.
To post a comment, you must be a registered user. Registration is free and easy! Sign up now!
<April 2022>