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Cisco senses opportunity with 5G mobile cloud software and hardware

Networking technology and services giant Cisco announces mobility systems aimed at helping service providers drive revenue and profitability from 5G infrastructure

As the ramifications of the decisions taken by the US, UK and EU regarding essential technology in 5G networks still reverberate, Cisco has entered the fray with a range of mobility systems for 5G infrastructures.

The networking giant believes that as 5G preparation takes over, service providers are facing pressures to transform their networks to accommodate the oncoming traffic growth and that they are now focused on how to grow profitability and show return on investment from their network buildouts.

To back its case, the company quoted its recently announced Cisco annual internet report, predicting that there would be nearly 30 billion connected devices by 2023, nearly half of which will be mobile. In particular, global 5G connections are set to make up more than 10% of these total mobile connections.

“The path to profitable 5G for service providers requires thoughtful choices on the mobile infrastructure with a cloud-native core, trustworthy IP network, and an open radio approach,” said Jonathan Davidson, senior vice-president and general manager of Cisco Service Provider Business. “The ability to capitalise on 5G opportunities in the enterprise, IoT [internet of things], datacentre and security domains is a game changer.”

Heidi Adams, executive director of network infrastructure research at Omdia, said: “The path to realising the potential of 5G brings new technologies, software-centric deployment models and revamped operational and business processes for mobile network operators to deliver new services to consumer and enterprise markets.”

Aiming to address these issues and demands on providers, Cisco has launched a suite of products that it says will reduce the headaches associated with integrating multi-supplier “telco stacks”, improve network congestion and video quality, and improve network operations and performance across residential networks. It has also launched line cards for a key router line.

At the vanguard of the new line is Cisco Cloud Services Stack for Mobility, a cloud-based mobile packet core system designed to accelerate implementation of 4G and 5G mobility services, and reduce integration costs and overall networking complexity.

Cisco has designed a common foundation that allows for agility and growth at scale with minimal disruption. The network functions virtualisation infrastructure (NFVI) platform comes pre-integrated, pre-validated and embedded with security, automation and assurance capabilities, running on Cisco UCS and Cisco Nexus fabric.

A new service edge product, Cisco Cloud Services Stack for Content Delivery, uses Cisco’s validated cloud-native services stack with a dedicated cloud-native content delivery application to improve network congestion and quality of experience for video.

This offers the potential for a revenue-sharing model between Cisco and its service provider/content provider customers to unlock top-line growth, improving 5G profitability while helping to onboard new content creators quickly.

Intended use cases include augmented and virtual reality as well as IoT applications, all of which could benefit from the new service edge system designed to improve network congestion and, in particular, video quality

Cisco Cloud Services Stack for Residential is designed to improve network operations and performance across residential access networks, enabling a cloud-native architecture for the broadband network gateway by centralising the control plane, improving network resiliency and simplifying operations.

The architecture is designed to provide a distributed user plane improving overall network performance by pushing forwarding decisions closer to the user and opening up the infrastructure to embrace a new service edge for revenue opportunities such as content delivery.

Cisco is committed to be the leader in critical internet infrastructure. To help service providers further converge services over one architecture, Cisco is launching new line cards for its Aggregation Services Routers (ASR) 9000 series.

The new cards are intended for edge routing use-cases across service providers, datacentre and enterprise private backbones and are said to offer more than triple existing performance with high-density 400GbE interfaces.

Cisco also introduced its Network Convergence System (NCS) 5700 router featuring four times higher than previous performance with high-density 400GbE interfaces.

In the 5G open RAN sphere, Cisco has revealed new models for its NCS 540 5G front-haul router, providing packet-based transport of common public radio interface (CPRI) streams. It offers 300Gbps system scale in a single Cisco IOS XR software environment from the core to the access network.

Cisco is also introducing the ability for service providers to monetise their trustworthy networks. For enterprise customers that demand a higher standard of secure connectivity, trusted routing paths can be created and offered as a premium service.

The system collects evidence to identify more trustworthy routing paths and an optimisation engine, then automates and finds routing paths based on trust metrics using segment routing.

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