For me and for most of Mobile broadband professionals, we are used to meeting the Telco Vendors such as Ericsson, Huawei, Cisco, Nokia, etc. It was a mind-shift for me personally when I started to meet RedHat, Mirantis, & Vmware as a part of the NFV talks and I was really surprised that a company like RedHat is a member of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) with more focus on the Mobile Broadband Evolution participating in Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Work Group.
It is obvious nowadays that the borders between different technology domains are fading in the sense that Networks are shifting into software-defined Networks with new abstraction layers realizing network convergence.
With this post being the last one, I chose to talk a little bit about some trending and future Mobile Broadband technologies with the goal of having an overview of the Technology Roadmap.
NFV (Network Functions Virtualization)
NFV offers a way to design, deploy, & manage Network Services via decoupling the Network Functions from proprietary Hardware enabling them to run in software environment.
The start was in Oct 2012 where a specification group under name “Network Functions Virtualization” with members from AT&T, BT, DT, China Mobile, NTT DOCOMO, & Other Tier-1 operators published the first NFV White paper at a conference in Darmstadt, Germany.
ETSI was selected to be the home of NFV Industry Specification group
How about running Huawei GGSN on Ericsson Hardware? Juniper SRX software on Cisco UCS? Interesting, ha?
IoT (Internet of Things)
From the Mobile Broadband perspectives, There are many User Equipment (UE) Categories. One of them is the normal consumer (MBB user) and the rest of the big list are almost occupied with “things” that uses the Internet Service to contribute or provide a specific Service.
An example is an electric meter that is able to report the usage directly to Electricity authority using the Internet service availed via an embedded SIM Card installed in the meter. For sure, there are a lot of many basic and sophisticated use cases.
So, IoT platforms are evolving and developing rapidly and from the Mobile Broadband perspective, a new framework of Features (PSM, Low Complexity UEs, Extended Timers, etc) and technologies (NB-IoT, 5G, Mobile Edge Computing, Network Slicing, etc) are there and in the roadmap to support this evolution.
MEC (Mobile Edge Computing)
MEC is an Industry Specification Group in ETSI (started on Dec 2014) with the goal to provide an IT service environment and cloud-computing capabilities at the edge of the mobile network, within the RAN and in close proximity to mobile subscribers.
MEC in a nutshell
- MEC is pushing the service into the Edge with the goal of improving user experience.
- MEC will be an open Platform exposing APIs to Network reusing the NFV technology & all techniques related to SDN and Orchestration apply.
with the MEC, an operator can easily deploy a specific gateway (IoT Gateway) as close as possible from access to serve the critical services that can’t tolerate delay (1 millisecond!) such as smart Cars/Smart Traffic Lights.
As the name indicates, this is the 5th generation for Mobile Networks that is still under development and Standardization. With a goal of having the Commercial Launch by 2020 (Tokyo Olympics 2020) and a “Pilot” launch by 2018 (Russia World Cup 2018), the 5G is foreseen as a use case driven technology which will provide a service framework for three main streams
- Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) – Evolution in user Data Rates (Gigabit Experience)
- Massive MTC (Machine Type Communications) – Smart Cities – Smart Homes – IoT
- Ultra-reliable and Low Latency Communications – Mission Critical Applications – Smart Cars – Self Driving.
The Target is to fulfill the below requirements
- Latency (E2E): 1 ms
- Throughput: 10 Gbps per UE
- Mobility of Speeds reaching 500 Km/h
A lot of use cases and Sectors will be served by 5G such as Smart Grids, Smart Vehicles, Health Care, Industry & Automation, Logistics & Tracking.
I hope that this article together with the previous four have succeeded to shed some light on the Mobile Broadband ecosystem and the corresponding technologies.
I will be happy to respond to your inquiries and comments.