The Challenges of 5G: Going Virtual

“5G isn’t just another network update, it’s a paradigm shift. The latest generation of mobile network has a cloud-native service-based architecture which is quite different from what we were accustomed in 2G/3G/4G,” highlights Mitar Maric, Senior Mobile Packet Core Engineer at Flint. With many “early adopter” engineers, Flint is ready to help customers master challenges related to the 5G transition.

In the last few years 5G has been in the centre of many conversations within the mobile community. With great benefits – among others greater bandwidth, higher download speeds and extremely low latency – also come new challenges for service providers to support the implementation of 5G.

The newest generation of broadband cellular networks represents a paradigm shift and a transition from physical to virtual networks. “The challenge is that service providers today experience a big gap in skill set of their work force who is profound in networking but lack the skills for cloud computing and network function virtualisation,” highlights Mitar Maric, Senior Mobile Pack Core Engineer at Flint, who has been working with mobile Service Providers around the globe for more than 15 years.

Broadening the Skill Set

With the ever-increasing demand for connectivity, mobile operators are turning with 5G in mind to infrastructure-enhancing technologies like cloud computing, software-defined networking, and network functions virtualisation. That means that most mobile operators will either have to invest in extensive training for their engineers and hire additional personnel or consider outsourcing at least part of the workload.

In the long game, training in-house staff will be a necessity. However, in the transition stage, when the business emphasis is still on maintaining and developing the 4G network, outsourcing can help kickstart the 5G journey.

Flint Is Ready to Jump In

Twenty years of experience in the ICT industry mean that Flint has helped customers transition into upgraded broadband cellular network since 1999.  We are (again) closely following the development of 5G, consulting and supporting clients in starting their transition. Our engineers are staying up to date with the technology, continually training and expanding their knowledge and skills. We are also developing and delivering various training / enablement programs for the latest technologies, supporting our partners through the transition.

“Flint has already engaged in several projects moving service operators to virtual solutions,” Mitar explains. “Currently, most service providers are in a transitional stage, adopting network virtualisation on the 4G network with solutions like CUPS (Control and User Plane Separation). There are several Infrastructure virtualisation platforms like VMWare, Openstack and others, many different hardware options and many (new) telecom vendors entering this space with their software-based solutions. New concepts and solutions are being introduced and tested daily, with automation being the key for the fast service introduction and agility. It almost feels like a greenfield again in the mobile operators world after a long time of just having network upgrades,” Mitar adds.

What Can We Look Forward To?

Even in the ICT industry where things are constantly evolving and changing, 5G will start a big revolution. Smart cities, autonomous vehicles, network slicing, virtual and augmented reality – all these technologies will get a big boost with the implementation of 5G, if service providers will get the virtualisation of networks right.

“Getting the virtualisation right from the start, with proper networking technologies and automation processes being implemented to support the vision of future use cases, will allow Service Providers to speed up service delivery while reducing costs, setting them at a right track for competitive position in this ever changing arena of mobile networks“, Mitar concludes.

Are you looking to start your 5G transition or are you curious to know how we can support or help you on your journey? Connect with us via email [email protected]. For more information, articles and updates follow us on LinkedIn

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