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Operationalising 5G in Malaysia: Four vendors come together

NEC Corporation of Malaysia and  its wholly-owned subsidiary, Netcracker Technology, have announced their collaboration with three other technology vendors, in a move to offer software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV) capabilities to telco players in the country.

NEC, Red Hat, Juniper Networks, and Dell EMC are combining their expertise, experience and capabilities on a country level, to offer an end-to-end multi-vendor 5G-ready virtualisation platform for service providers, an endeavour they have replicated at the global and regional level, as well.

In Malaysia, the solution addresses a long-standing legacy technology issue – exponential subscriber growth that isn’t matched by the same growth in revenues, coupled with very expensive specialised telco equipment, are the huge main challenges towards a service provider’s plans for expansion and consistent service delivery.

A main feature of virtualising network functions, is the usage of commoditised hardware with open standards for maximum interoperability. With this particular solution, Dell EMC’s hardware, is layered on top by Red Hat’s OpenStack Platform, the underlying NFV virtualisation platform. All of this is wrapped up in NEC’s management and orchestration (MANO) solution, and Juniper’s NFV networking services.

Netcracker’s Sales Director, Michael Tadault, described that 3GPP, the standards body that produces reports and specifications for 5G technology, mandates the use of SDN and NFV for 5G deployment.

5G is the next-generation of mobile broadband technology, that promises greater speeds, lower latency, and better scalability.

Tadault explained why SDN and NFV is necessary for 5G, as it is not just the upgrade of the technology to the next G, but also, “…it is a structural change. A service provider currently is challenged by the way it is organised.”

SDN and NFV can change the way a service provider operates and delivers services, when the service provider adopts methods like Agile and DevOps, he opined.

Partnerships

Overall, NEC’s end-to-end holistic solution simplifies transition to 5G operations, a trend which is slowly starting to pick up in other parts of the globe, as service providers start to see the benefits of 5G, and demand for best-of-breed solutions and open partnerships.

Deriving experience from 25 global deployments of SDN/NFV solutions, Tadault shared four key areas for the next evolution of service providers, or digital service providers, to focus on to be successful.

The first of these, is to establish a digital marketplace that not only caters to subscribers, but also business partners’ solutions.

Secondly, service providers should maintain hybrid operations. “SDN/NFV will take years to become mainstream, so with environments being a combination of traditional physical appliances and virtual solutions, service providers will have to manage this.

The third area is to do with organisational transformation. With powerful SDN/NFV tools at their disposal, telcos need to be able to fully leverage virtualisation, so as to reap benefits like agility in service delivery and quicker time-to-market. Tadault cited Agile and DevOps methods, as being able to facilitate this.

The fourth is automation, or more specifically, zero-touch automation. Automation can replace tasks which are manual and repetitive, increasing cost-efficiency in the process.

NEC Malaysia’s Managing Director, Chong Kai Wooi, believes that their SDN/NFV solutions would be able to contribute to over 10-percent of NEC’s carrier revenue in Malaysia, and that this would increase to 30-percent in three years.

 

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