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A surge in private 5G network deployments has been underway for almost two years now, and the steady flow of deployment has led to optimism through the comms ecosystem, even though many deployments today are custom projects that are expensive to implement and maintain. Offering a remedy to this issue, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) 5G Private Networks solution group has revealed details of a trial showing how the economics of private networks can be substantially transformed through technological innovation.
The TIP group, led by leading operator Telefónica, used a computer vision application as a driving use case. The group combined private 5G with edge compute for service components with strict requirements – i.e. video processing and the user plane function – while taking advantage of the efficiencies of a central cloud where possible.
The TIP solution group said it has demonstrated a number of levers to produce a blueprint for a more cost-effective and scalable private 5G service. The offering adopts a cloud-native platform that supports virtualised and containerised network functions and extends across the customer premises at the edge and the cloud, creating a hybrid cloud.
The service adopts an open-source automation tool chain that supports workflows for the installation, configuration, testing and live operation of software components and infrastructure.
In terms of contributing companies, Rakuten Symphony – part of a current TIP member-led project aiming to maximise future synergies in the global telco supply chain – provided its Symworld Orchestrator product, formerly Multi Data Center Automation Platform, and Symworld Cloud Native Platform (CNP) components for the deployment of multiple clusters in the cloud and at the edge.
Orchestrator is designed to manage the deployment of a Kubernetes cluster onto the bare metal servers at the edge, and the deployment of both the Mobile Core UPF function and the Computer Vision application. CNP also performs lifecycle management for the Kubernetes clusters on both edge and cloud servers.
Tech Mahindra integrated industry-standard open-source tools into workflows that orchestrated the component repositories, the cloud and edge platforms, and the test equipment. The workflow engine integrates the deployment and test platform management services, handles activities such as artefact management, release management, service orchestration, and test and log management, and automates use cases such as OS and cluster onboarding, network function onboarding, and updating.
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The offering adopts an open source, disaggregated 5G NSA core that supports separation of control plane and user plane functions across cloud and edge. NTT Data integrated the OMEC core from the Open Networking Foundation into the hybrid edge/cloud architecture and validated the integration.
TIP said the architecture and components of the trial have been encapsulated in a blueprint that is suitable for replication in other scenarios.
The blueprint is designed to satisfy a number of requirements for the cost-effective and automated delivery of private network services. These include on-premise dedicated 5G connectivity to enable business-critical applications that require high levels of network availability, high network density, on-premise compute, storage and routing, on-premise compute, storage and routing, public cloud-agnostic computing, automated software lifecycle management from delivery to operations, a centralised management platform, hardware/software disaggregation, and replicability of features and characteristics across multiple customers.
“The cost-effective deployment of private 5G networks at scale requires a comprehensive, automated approach to lifecycle management,” said Vivek Tiwary, head of global delivery, network services at Tech Mahindra.
Subha Shrinivasan, vice-president of customer success, unified cloud BU at Rakuten Symphony, said: “We are excited that this blueprint will help operators to unlock opportunities to monetise edge deployments.”