Category: NGMN News

Continuous Delivery in telecommunication Network Environments

White Paper addresses Continuous Delivery in Telecommunication Network Environments

Using practical experience gained from Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom test and production environments, the NGMN White Paper presents a concept to tackle the so-called ‘air gap’ challenge.

The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance has today published its ‘Continuous Delivery in Telecommunication Network Environments’ White Paper, setting out concepts to tackle the ‘air gap’ challenge.

The telecommunications industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation to become more software-centric and cloud-based, paving the way towards a more agile service environment and higher operational automation. On the journey to DevOps, through applying practices such as Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD), network operators at some point in time hit a challenge described in the White Paper as the ‘air gap’.

Caused by the fact that production networks are strictly segregated from test networks and development environment networks for security and operational reasons, this gap between CI automation in one network zone and deployment automations in other network zones hinders seamless CD automation. Solving the ‘air gap’ challenge is therefore an important step in the evolution towards true continuous deployment.

Using findings gained in recent projects, including DevOps practices from Deutsche Telekom (DT) and SK Telecom (SKT) including feedback from more than 25 NGMN Mobile Network Operators, the White Paper lays out the practical experience gained from automating the delivery chain for multiple applications, complemented by mapping the concept to a technology stack.

“This project has reinforced the importance of industry collaboration to expand and evolve telecommunications networks with a view to providing continuous deployment,” said Peter Meissner, CEO of NGMN. “Collaboration is key not just for NGMN but for the whole industry. To address the ‘air gap’ as well as other complex issues that operators face, stakeholders must combine skills, knowledge and resources to maintain advancements in the mobile ecosystem.”

“It is imperative that we move automation out of the advanced technology space and into production. As an industry, we must address the challenges that are hindering this progress,” said, Walter Goldenits, Chief Technology Officer, Telekom Deutschland, Deutsche Telekom. “The concepts explored in this White Paper are gained from practical experience and are intended now for alignment in industry activities around service orchestration and automation. I therefore encourage all interested parties to read and provide feedback to the White Paper.”

“Our ongoing work to identify new solutions that address the air gap challenge will prove critical as the industry undergoes a revolution towards DevOps practices,” said Kangwon Lee, VP & Head of Cloud Labs, ICT R&D Center, SK Telecom. “The industry is moving towards increased operational automation and a more agile service environment, but the change is not just about the technology – it is also about culture and methodologies. This NGMN White Paper is a key stage in the process.”

The White Paper presents the following key aspects:

  • Outlines the target scenario for CD in telecommunication network environments
  • Identifies key concepts for a model-based and reusable solution
  • Examines various aspects of lifecycle management, putting CD into an even larger context

NGMN considers to initiate a project to further evolve the concept proposed in this White Paper jointly with industry stakeholders.

NGMN welcomes feedback from all interested parties on this White Paper and the evolution towards true continuous deployment.

To download the White Paper, click here.

Joint NGMN/WBA RAN Convergence White Paper

WBA & NGMN Examine Options for Convergence, Management of Wi-Fi 6 & 5G

London/Frankfurt – Sept. 3, 2019: Mobile operators today received further verification that Wi-Fi will play a critical role to the success of 5G, as illustrated in a new white paper developed by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) and the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance. Developed with input from mobile carriers, telecom equipment manufacturers and Wi-Fi advocates, the WBA & NGMN Joint Task Force: RAN Convergence White Paper explores the importance of existing and future Wi-Fi and cellular convergence, highlighting techniques that enable convergence and identifying solutions to bridge technology gaps.

According to the paper’s findings, mobile operators will benefit from the convergence of Wi-Fi and 5G by gaining improved visibility into Wi-Fi networks, affording them the ability to control customer experience, deliver better services to customers and provide enterprise Wi-Fi network management solutions to enterprise customers. Wi-Fi operators, meanwhile, will benefit from convergence by gaining improved visibility and transition management as they operate overlapping cellular and Wi-Fi networks, ultimately resulting in an improved user experience. Additionally, enterprise Wi-Fi networks will gain the ability to access operator-provided 5G services.

Importantly, the paper also identifies new business opportunities created through the convergence of Wi-Fi and 5G at the network and RAN layers, including enterprise use cases, manufacturing, public hotspots and residential applications. Some of the key use cases covered in the paper include:

  • Convergence of 5G and Wi-Fi for Enterprise Wi-Fi: Currently, most enterprises use Wi-Fi technology to provide wireless access to employees, contractors and visitors. The paper identifies three scenarios for convergence of Wi-Fi and 5G to ensure a diverse set of deployment scenarios and business opportunities for both Wi-Fi providers and mobile operators.
  • Factories of the Future: Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is driving a significant increase in the amount of data that traverses the network, especially in low-power wide-area networks (LP-WANs). At the same time, manufacturers increasingly are incorporating machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), advanced analytics and automation into their processes. The paper provides a deployment scenario for a manufacturing environment in which the convergence of 5G NR and Wi-Fi are used to provide improved connectivity, traffic routing and support for Wi-Fi devices with and without identity credentials.
  • Connected Cities: Enterprises and cities increasingly are deploying Passpoint-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots to provide the public with Internet connectivity. The paper includes two scenarios that illustrate how the convergence of Wi-Fi and 5G will enable enterprises and cities to create contiguous Wi-Fi access through the use of public hotspots.
  • Residential Connectivity: A variety of devices are used by consumers to deliver Wi-Fi connectivity for both mobile and fixed devices in the home, including Ethernet, powerline and Coax. Additionally, residential local area networks (LANs) increasingly are connected with community Wi-Fi service, while femtocells are used to bolster connectivity in certain deployments. The paper provides a scenario for providing a mix of traffic within the home Wi-Fi network and femtocell 5G deployments.

The paper concludes that a new set of 5G use cases and verticals may require combined resources from both cellular and Wi-Fi networks. This will provide cost-effective solutions that meet diverse sets of requirements on throughput, latency, connection density, coverage, availability and reliability. This is especially important for smartphones that carry a significant amount of data traffic by accessing Wi-Fi. Convergence of Wi-Fi and 5G will lead to better user experience for smartphone customers and create new business opportunities for both Wi-Fi and mobile operators.

Additionally, the paper addresses a number of challenges that exist when integrating Wi-Fi and cellular networks in enterprise, residential and public Wi-Fi deployments. In particular, the paper explores the benefits of creating a standardized interface between Wi-Fi and cellular networks to improve end-to-end network performance, elevate user experience and, ultimately, empower both mobile and Wi-Fi operators to create new business opportunities utilizing the converged technologies.

“Mobile and Wi-Fi operators, equipment manufacturers and end users all stand to benefit a great deal from the continued convergence of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, especially with the release of Wi-Fi 6 later this year and the continued development of 5G networks,” said Tiago Rodrigues, General Manager, WBA. “As the paper highlights, convergence of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 in the RAN is vital for 5G coverage in dense locations and indoor deployments, giving stakeholders the ability to cost effectively improve performance, while ultimately improving return on investment (ROI) for mobile operators.”

Sanctioned by the top 38 mobile operators around the world, the paper continues work between WBA and NGMN to identify business opportunities, challenges and key use cases made possible through the convergence of Wi-Fi and existing cellular networks, as well as future 5G network deployments. Input was provided by a number of mobile operators, including BT, Orange, Rogers and US Cellular. Leading telecom equipment manufacturers that provided input include Intel, Broadcom, Cisco, Accuris Networks and Huawei.

“The work we’ve done with WBA to identify new use cases and challenges in the convergence of Wi-Fi and 5G is beneficial for operators, vendors and end users,” said Peter Meissner, CEO, NGMN Alliance . “It is through initiatives like this one that our industry solves important issues and ensures the success of technologies for the future.”

The WBA and NGMN intend to continue exploring convergence of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies, with input from 3GPP, IEEE and the Wi-Fi Alliance. Operators and network equipment manufacturers that are interested in contributing to future reports can RAN Convergence White Paper or NGMN for additional information.

190903 RAN Convergence Paper

NGMN and ESOA sign Co-operation Agreement

The EMEA Satellite Operators Associations (ESOA) and the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance have joined forces to strengthen their relationship and to foster a closer co-operation in the area of integration of satellite solutions in the 5G ecosystem.

This co-operation agreement brings together two widely recognised industry organisations in the field of 5G cellular and satellite networks, respectively. Conscious of the need to expand the benefits of connectivity to as many potential citizens as possible, NGMN and ESOA wish to explore synergies between satellite and terrestrial technologies. This will allow mobile and satellite operators to assess the benefits of new business models that will extend connectivity and potentially unleash new markets and growth for both sectors.“The NGMN project on Extreme Long-Range Communications for Deep Rural Coverage provides essential guidance in terms of end-to-end requirements for rural scenarios”, said Peter Meissner, CEO of the NGMN Alliance. “We are looking forward to a close co-operation with ESOA to jointly drive successful global development of the required 5G technology platform for the benefit of the whole industry. The integration of Non-Terrestrial Networks with greatly expanded reach can help operators to provide services to most or all of their territory.”Aarti Holla Maini, Secretary General of ESOA, stated: “The cooperation between NGMN and ESOA is an important step forward to working towards true universal 5G through a Network of Networks. 5G needs a genuine commitment to making cross-sector cooperation a success in order to really deliver a tangible difference over 4G/LTE and to extend connectivity overall. The cooperation will therefore exclusively focus on technologies, their real business impact and their potential interworking and integration.

NGMN News

NGMN Operators Joint Position on 5G Core Connectivity Options

5G Core Connectivity Options – Support of all 5G Core Connectivity options essential to fully explore the benefits of 5G core network

Frankfurt, Germany – the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance today highlights the importance of supporting all Core Connectivity options defined by 3GPP for connection of LTE & NR radio equipment to EPC (LTE Evolved Packet Core, used by 4G networks today) and the new 5G core network.NGMN operators expressing their strong opinion that all of the Core Connectivity options are essential to efficiently deliver services enabled by the 5G core network across operators’ LTE & NR radio network deployments and ensure seamless service continuity between these areas. It is therefore imperative that the complete 5G industry supports all of the specified options.3GPP has defined four possible configurations (known as options 2, 4, 5 & 7) for connecting to the new 5G core via LTE and/or NR radio access technologies. 3GPP has also defined one option for 5G radio networks to be supported using EPC, known as option 3.

Whilst options 2 and 3 have been well supported by the industry to date particularly in the context of initial 5G launches, NGMN operators also require support of options 4, 5 and 7 as they look to introduce 5G services across their networks.

For option 4, by aggregating LTE carriers to NR, operators can maximize capacity and make efficient use of existing LTE assets. Option 5 can offer advanced 5G core network supported service capabilities to LTE coverage areas and thus provide service continuity between LTE and NR. As to option 7, in addition to the advantages of option 5, operators can make use of the benefit of dual-connectivity by aggregating NR carriers to LTE.

3GPP have confirmed that all architecture options will be delivered in Release 15 specifications with options 4 & 7 to be delivered in ‘late drop’ scheduled in June 2019, while the other options are already completed.

A 5G core network offers substantial service benefits through native support of capabilities such as Network Slicing, Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) and uRLLC, with a new end-to-end QoS model. The 5G core network is also based on a modular Service Based Architecture providing a cloud-optimised framework for flexible service creation, automation, scalability and resilience.

With demand for radio performance improvements and industry uptake of wide area advanced 5G core network supported service capabilities, the mobile communications industry requires multiple connectivity options to meet the operator requirements.
Emmanuel Lugagne Delpon, Chairman of the NGMN Board, Group CTO of Orange said: “NGMN operators strongly request the industry to promote, develop and implement Core Connectivity options 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 to support 5G deployments in different markets globally and to fully explore the advantages of the 5G core network.

NGMN News

5G future revealed as NGMN gathers leading global operators for briefing on industry use cases building on 5G

Earlier today, the NGMN Alliance successfully brought together key global operators to showcase unique 5G use cases beyond mobile broadband at its press and industry briefing at Mobile World Congress.

Barcelona, Spain – Taking place on the Deutsche Telekom stand with more than 150 attendees, NGMN welcomed speakers from AT&T, China Mobile, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom itself. Covering 4G and 5G campus network solutions in industrial and entertainment industries, smart energy, remote medical healthcare, factory automation and 5G powered maintenance for Industry 4.0, the briefing explored 5G expectations in key vertical industries and the next steps the industry needs to take to overcome key challenges.

“The 5G use cases beyond mobile broadband presented during the briefing have truly highlighted the impact of 5G on fundamental vertical industries,” said NGMN CEO Peter Meissner. “The presentations given by some of the industry’s leading operators have clearly shown the potential that 5G has to transform a variety of industries and the challenges that we must all now work on overcoming in the journey towards 5G.”

Emmanuel Lugagne Delpon, Senior Vice President at Orange Labs Networks and Chairman of the NGMN Board, introduced the session by explaining the potential operator strategies of 5G introduction – starting with enhanced mobile broadband for consumers that seamlessly builds on current networks and then extending towards to the industry focused applications with URLLC ultra reliable low latency communications capabilities.

The use cases presented covered a broad range of applications:

  • Emmanuel Lugagne Delpon, Senior Vice President at Orange Labs Networks, kicked off the session by revealing why immersive experience for Industry 4.0 needs 5G.
  • Igal Elbaz, Senior Vice President of Wireless Technology at AT&T, discussed the creation of a 5G zone at the Magic Leap campus in Florida, enabling developers and creators to test applications and devices on a 5G network as the product is being built.
  • Guangyi Liu, Wireless CTO of China Mobile Research Institute, China Mobile, explained how the unique capabilities of 5G technology will enable a different level of automation in energy networks.
  • Seizo Onoe, Chief Technology Architect at NTT DOCOMO and President of DOCOMO Technology, highlighted the medical healthcare trials with partners on 5G remote and mobile diagnosis.
  • Arash Ashouriha, Senior Vice President of Technology Architecture & Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, showcased the 4G and 5G campus network solutions available to industry customers, and the dual slice approach that integrates public and private LTE and 5G connectivity.
  • Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone Group R&D Director, closed the presentations by discussing the transformation of factory automation, with a focus on spectrum licensing.

Following the presentations NGMN welcomed questions from the audience which covered a variety of topics, including 5G security, network sharing, QoS of E2E architecture and the role of operators in private networks for vertical industries.

“The briefing reflects the NGMN board’s focus on the strategic priorities for the organisation going forward,” said Emmanuel Lugagne Delpon. “We look forward to continuing these crucial discussions together guiding the evolution of 5G technology.”

IPR Forum

NGMN paves the way for the development of 5G patent licensing practices across industry segments

The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance has jointly organised and executed a successful conference on Licensing Practices in 5G Industry Segments with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), bringing various experts from around the world together to discuss licensing practices and challenges of 5G.

 

Geneva, Switzerland – The conference featured moderators and speakers from some of the biggest names in telecoms, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Ericsson, Nokia and Microsoft. Also in attendance were key stakeholders of vertical industries, including Audi, Bosch, Panasonic and u-Blox, and patent pool administrators, namely Avanci, MPEG-LA, Sisvel and Via Licensing, who co-sponsored the event, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the Japanese and the European Patent Offices, and the European Commission. Focusing on the development of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), the conference facilitated sharing and discussing of present-day licensing practices and related issues across different industry segments.A host of insightful sessions took place igniting an inclusive exchange on:

  • Patent licensing practices with interactive discussions that focused on issues stakeholders need to be aware of.
  • Sharing licensors’, licensees’ and pool administrators’ requirements on patent pools/platforms.
  • Identifying proposed practices and conducts for licensors and licensees.
  • Listing requirements for increasing transparency and assessing essentiality of Standard Essential Patents declared to Standards Developing Organisations.

 

“It’s great to notice that our joint ITU-NGMN conference has been such a success,” said Dr. Peter Meissner, CEO of NGMN. “Obviously, the 5G Eco-System is different. New use cases beyond mobile broadband – like massive IoT as well as highly demanding requirements from vertical industries on low latency, ultra-high reliability and security – are causing substantial network transformations. All these challenges have implications on the intellectual property of mobile network operators and across the different industry segments. Conferences like this are key in identifying IPR issues and exploring solutions for the enlarged eco-system.”

 

On a related matter, NGMN will be hosting a Press & Industry Briefing on 5G use cases beyond mobile broadband on 26th February 2019, from 11am – noon at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. If you are interested in attending or speaking to an NGMN representative, please contact ngmn(at)proactive-pr.com.

NGMN News

NGMN & Wireless Broadband Alliance join forces to address RAN convergence opportunities

Call for combined 5G and Wi-Fi network resources to address opportunities and use casesLondon, Frankfurt – NGMN and Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) have published the first results of their collaboration to drive the convergence of multi-technology RANs and core networks. The joint report identifies a number of emerging opportunities and use cases that the industry can benefit from through the convergence of 3GPP’s 5G and Wi-Fi, driven by the ever-enhancing capabilities of licenced and unlicensed technologies. It also highlights the key challenges, which must first be addressed in order to realise convergence over 3GPP Access and Wi-Fi – including tighter integration of Wi-Fi access in 5G networks, network manageability and policy control, and the enablement of Wi-Fi-only devices.

The convergence opportunity
Wi-Fi and cellular ecosystems have traditionally followed their own development paths. The latest versions of each technology have greatly enhanced capability compared with early offerings, with Wi-Fi 6 and 3GPP’s 5G, encompassing New Radio (NR) and LTE from Release 15 onwards, as well as the 3GPP 5G Core. However, as society increasingly depends on fast reliable data connectivity, NGMN and WBA believe an important capability for the industry is the convergence at a network level between 5G and Wi-Fi, so that the unique and complementary capabilities of both RANs can be leveraged to provide seamless network services. Bearing in mind that a significant amount of data traffic from smartphones use a Wi-Fi access, this will lead to a better user experience and create new business opportunities for both Wi-Fi and cellular providers.

New resource requirements
The report identifies a number of use cases and verticals that may require combined resources from both 5G and Wi-Fi networks in providing cost effective solutions that meet diverse sets of requirements on throughput, latency, connection density, coverage, availability and reliability. For example, enterprise services on cellular networks, and in particular, those that the 5G Core enables, may require a new look at the use of an access neutral mechanism for a number of reasons. These include gaps in coverage, the proliferation of indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi deployments, and potential for multi-site enterprise environments.
“Convergence of 5G and Wi-Fi can potentially bring major benefits to cellular operators, enterprise Wi-Fi and public Wi-Fi solution providers, giving access to 5G and enterprise services from both Wi-Fi and 5G access networks.” said Dr. Peter Meissner, CEO of the NGMN Alliance. “However, in order to realise service and network convergence, we have worked with the WBA to identify a number of requirements that must first be satisfied. This is particularly true in the enterprise and Public Wi-Fi space, where there is a demand from cellular operators for a standardised solution for improved visibility and control in the configuration and management of Wi-Fi access networks.”

5G/Wi-Fi Interworking
A number of industry developments and specifications address the interworking of 5G and Wi-Fi from a technical standpoint:

  • 3GPP has already developed specifications to ensure tight integration of 3GPP and non-3GPP radio technologies, such as Wi-Fi. In order to better serve customers and provide the full 5G experience the tight integration of non-3GPP technologies needs to be ensured also within the 5G Core Network. Solutions enabling some of these objectives have already been adopted by 3GPP and Wi-Fi 6, such as the EAP authentication framework similar to Wi-Fi, to accommodate different wireless service subscription-types (e.g. mobile, wireless or fixed broadband) and their native authentication methods.
  • 3GPP Release 15 provides some support for interworking between 5G and Wi-Fi. In particular, 3GPP Release 15 provides support for untrusted non-3GPP access (such as Wi-Fi) to the 5G core via Non-3GPP Interworking Function (N3IWF), with secure transport of Control-Plane/User-Plane (CP/UP) messages over an IKEv2/IPSec tunnels between the terminal devices and the N3IWF.
  • 3GPP Release 16 is continuing the work by enhancing capabilities for Wi-Fi integration, including trusted Wi-Fi support and access traffic steering, switching and splitting.

However, challenges and needs remain – including the enablement of Wi-Fi only devices to connect to the 5G core, further study to ensure the tight integration between 5G and Wi-Fi networks, an interface to enable certain level of network manageability and policy control between 5G core and Wi-Fi networks, and the ability of a client to route traffic over one or more accesses, making optimal use of the available connectivity. As a next step, the WBA and NGMN are undergoing further study on these challenges in order to uncover potential solutions. This will culminate in the recommendation of a future strategy for Converged RAN deployment, ensuring the best user experience making use of both Wi-Fi and Cellular access.

Tiago Rodrigues, General Manager of WBA said: “Wi-Fi 6 introduces new capabilities for carriers, cities and enterprises to cost effectively provide additional coverage and capacity, mainly indoor, to address the 5G use case requirements. Now it’s time to fully capitalize on these capabilities by delivering a clear strategic path for converged RAN deployments. This is a priority. We will continue to work closely with NGMN and its members to review, develop and test potential solutions, as identified in our recent 5G White Paper.”

To download the RAN Convergence Interim White Paper, click here
For more information or to get involved, contact the NGMN Programme Management Office: office@ngmn.org

Interview Telus

TELUS about covering 80% of Canada with fibre

Interview with Tony Gehran, Chief Customer Officer, at the NGMN Industry Conference & Exhibition 2018
Transforming the network and customer experience in Canada
Interview Interdigital

5G Moving to cloud-native systems

Interview with Dirk Trossen, Interdigital, at the NGMN Industry Conference & Exhibition 2018
Dirk Trossen on software-based networking for delivering 5G services
Interview Telecom Italia

Telecom Italia’s role in 5G

Interview with Andrea Calvi, Head of Technology Evolution & Innovation at TIM, at the NGMN Industry Conference & Exhibition 2018

New NGMN Board member Andrea Calvi on Telecom Italia making Turin the first 5G-enabled city in Italy.

Telecom Italia’s role in 5G from NGMN Office on Vimeo.