COVID-19 Pandemic is Accelerating demand for 5G
VIAVI Solutions and Tech Mahindra together on how COVID - 19 is changing the network world
The COVID-19 pandemic and “shelter in place” orders have led to a significant rise in online usage as remote learning and practice of telecommuting (or Work from Home) have gained prominence. Most people rely on either their home internet or cell phone data for work or study purposes.
The sudden change in internet consumption patterns has led to an impact on the network but so far, the internet is holding up well. Internet traffic is 25% to 30% higher than usual and most of the data traffic is going over the broadband access and Wi-Fi networks.
Apart from the mounting pressure on broadband Wi-Fi, mobile networks are also witnessing unprecedented levels of traffic (i.e. 30 percent or more increase in the data traffic). In addition, data-hungry usecases such as picture messaging, streaming, online gaming, A/V (Audio/Video) calling, and VoIP calling are adding to the surge in network demands.
The COVID-19 outbreak has laid more emphasis on the criticality of communication systems, which is the backbone for telehealth, telework, and digital learning. Tele-health has finally become a reality and in such difficult times, it is the most preferred approach for interaction by healthcare providers and patients alike. Along with uniform availability, a high level of security and privacy is extremely important.
A rapid shift in traffic patterns (owing to interactive video and real-time sensitive usecases) and changes in traffic density (i.e. from business parks to residential and suburban neighborhoods) is forcing CSPs (Communication Service Providers) to build out those areas with greater capacity at a much lower cost. This means more penetration of 5G and optical fiber. This should accelerate the need for development and deployment of low-cost 5G solutions and Open RAN architecture.
The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping every aspect of our lives i.e. the way we work, study, and keep in touch. Digital society of the future is finally here, much faster than expected. Ubiquitous connectivity has played a vital role in these difficult times. COVID-19 will result in a new normal and some of the practices such as social distancing, teleworking, and more will remain prominent in the post-COVID world.
Remote connections will continue to grow and 5G rollout will be accelerated to provide superior connectivity, along with supporting next-generation workforce and education.
Digital immersive experiences, improved connectivity, and reliable and sustainable networks will only accelerate digital enablement (and transformation). Automation will be critical for launching and optimizing new services using a different set of technologies. This will help in offering more personalized and enhanced customer experience.
Rising to the challenges - Building the Network of Future (NOF)
The future is here and telecommunications service providers should up their QoS (Quality of Service) to meet the increasing consumer demands. Virtualization, cloudification, densification, open networks, complete automation, and hyperscale operations are no longer mere buzzwords. These concepts are being operationalized in Rakuten, Japan. Rakuten is in a position to deploy these latest technologies, as they do not have legacy infrastructure.
However, the challenge in front of traditional service providers is to come up with a viable development path to cater to the evolution of their networks and operations. This is necessary for leveraging the advantages of these discontinuities in the industry while maintaining continuity in their business operations.
In the Network of the Future (5G), there is a pressing need for network deployment automation, Continuous Integration (CI), and Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine Learning (ML)-based operations that can improve efficiency and boost productivity. Network function virtualization is of prime importance as it helps service providers in increasing agility and reducing their operational expenditure (OPEX).
Orchestration services provide the perfect blend of customized solutions for mitigating the business challenges faced by telecom operators. Orchestration transforms pure virtualization into Cloudification, which results in boosting network efficiency. This eventually helps in delivering enhanced customer experience.
The ‘Network of the Future’ emphasizes on ‘Open RAN technology’, as it enables the virtualization of networks. It is greatly beneficial to the service providers as it helps in minimizing operational costs.
Continuous hunger for more bandwidth and pressing demand for low-latency services necessitated by mission-critical applications is driving the deployment of 5G, along with fiber penetration that is deeper and closer to the end-users. There are numerous complexities associated with the design and deployment of 5G radio, as the network needs to function in coexistence with legacy 2G/3G /4G networks.
Hence, intelligent orchestration becomes critical and should be embedded in the solutions being deployed. In such cases, Machine Learning (ML) becomes essential as it helps in eliminating repetitive and predictable tasks, along with delivering optimal networks in a complex, multi-technology, and ever-changing environment.
Tech Mahindra and VIAVI Solutions - Building the RAN of the Future (ROF)
Tech Mahindra and VIAVI Solutions have collaborated to bring in the best-in-class technology and service frameworks that will enable equipment vendors and service providers in accelerating their development cycle, network deployment, and subsequent maintenance and assurance. These set of offerings are possible by building sophisticated capabilities in automated workflows and network operations.
Our 5G RF Conformance Testing and Accelerating Deployment solution help in meeting user-experience expectations and managing complex technologies like mmWave, mMIMO, beamforming, coverage, and dual connectivity.
Our comprehensive offerings are aligned with the rapid technological advancements happening across the world. Our solution includes verification of the following:
- 5G-carrier profiles
- 5G beam profiles
- 5G carrier aggregations
- 5G beamforming
- 5G coverage
Our solution combines VIAVI’s lab test equipment with TechM’s core competence in the areas of integration and managed services. The collaboration has been instrumental in enabling the rapid deployment of a completely virtualized 4G and 5G core and access technologies for automated testing. The solution is being utilized in Rakuten, Japan
Tech Mahindra and VIAVI together are able to bring the best of breed testing and deployment solutions for our esteemed customers. Our multi-vendor, multi-domain solution is cloud-based, 5G ready, and requires bare-minimum setup time. These features go a long way in increasing profitability, reducing TTM (Time to Market), and lowering the Cost of Ownership for the service providers.
We continuously strive to innovate in smart technologies and services for empowering customers and businesses with future-ready solutions.
About The Author
Payam Maveddat: VP – Business Development & Corporate Strategy, VIAVI Solutions
An accomplished Senior Technology Executive with a proven track record for building and leading world-class complex software products from concept to deployment and support to drive revenue growth across large scale enterprises, securing partnerships, identifying and capitalizing on growth and investment opportunities, with notable achievements in the telecom industry.
Manish Mangal, CTO, Network Services
An accomplished telecom industry veteran with 20 years of professional experience. Held various leadership roles in Fortune 100 companies leading technology initiatives from incubation to operationalization that transformed businesses and increased enterprise value. Manish is an Expert in leading large and global teams, developing end to end technology solutions, and creating / managing strategic partnerships that directly improve enterprise value.