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Colt picks Cisco to simplify 5G backhaul services

Colt is to deploy Cisco’s segment routing and Ethernet VPN-based architecture on its IQ Network for mobile operators

Colt Technology Services is to deploy segment routing and Ethernet VPN (eVPN) technology on the Colt IQ Network to differentiate its 5G backhaul offering and give its mobile network operator (MNO) customers more flexibility to support their incoming 5G services.

Because the deployment of 5G mobile networks is proving a significant capital and operational expense for MNOs, Colt plans to enable them to stand up and support new services more cheaply, at scale and faster by letting them share connectivity costs while maintaining individual service-level agreements (SLAs) for their applications.

Colt said its IQ Network, which provides a high-bandwidth, agile backbone connecting hundreds of datacentres and thousands of enterprise sites globally, would also help MNOs cut subscription costs for their users – early 5G services are likely to be significantly more expensive than existing 4G ones.

Coupled with Colt’s On Demand proposition, which lets customers scale bandwidth requirements in real-time, the firm said it was ideally positioned as a next-generation architecture to support 5G when it becomes a commercial reality.

“We are focused on providing best-in-class, high bandwidth, on-demand connectivity solutions to meet our customers’ ever-growing business needs and the arrival of 5G presents exciting opportunities,” said Peter Coppens, vice-president of product portfolio at Colt.

“We have worked closely with Cisco to design a network architecture that is simple to operate, highly available and capable of delivering the innovative network services that are required for 5G.”

Cisco’s programmable routing architecture will enable the openness and programmability of the IQ Network to be projected out to MNOs using APIs, which the partners described as a “breakthrough” in automation for 5G backhaul, supporting features such as self-provisioned bandwidth scaling, or network slicing based on latency or bandwidth demand.

“With every new mobile technology comes complexity, and 5G is no different,” said Sumeet Arora, senior vice-president and managing director of service provider routing at Cisco. “Cisco’s highly programmable segment routing architecture will enable Colt to lower the barriers of entry for MSPs, reducing costs and significantly speeding up the delivery of 5G services.” 

The partnership will also let Colt support newer 5G architectures using cloud radio access network (cloud RAN) technology to lower operational costs through, for example, more efficient use of spectrum resource.

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