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Cloud Packet Core: Where flexibility enables profitability

Communication Service Providers (CSPs) must monetize their investments in 5G infrastructure while simultaneously managing the increasing demands of their customers. Designing a webscale-class cloud packet core network that meets the needs of CSPs today and in the future, starts with a 100% cloud-native architecture. One that’s flexible enough to be deployed anywhere and when it is needed to adapt to rapidly changing network demands.

Enterprises are realigning business operations and data storage to the cloud in record numbers. As this pace increases, so does the potential complexity of the cloud itself. Security, data dominance, speed and other issues may affect whether that cloud connection is on-premises, in a data center, or a public cloud.

The packet core needs to be infrastructure-agnostic and state-efficient to make it suited to diverse cloud environments. It needs to connect to any cloud, and it needs to run consistently no matter the deployment: cloud native, virtualized or running on bare metal servers.

“Whether that’s a private cloud, whether it’s a public cloud, whether it’s all the way down to bare metal at remote locations where there isn’t a justification for cloud infrastructure – that flexibility goes hand-in-hand with the 5G network architecture,” said Keith Allan, portfolio manager for Nokia’s Cloud Packet Core.

Making the packet core independent of the underlying cloud architecture’s orchestration, lifecycle management and infrastructure resource management constraints pays off with flexible deployment options, Allan said.

“It’s really about allowing the network architecture to be distributed further and further out to minimize latency.” said Allan. “Service providers can make their deployment decisions based on the cost benefits and trade-offs of using different infrastructure in different locations.”

That flexibility also extends to the Nokia Cloud Packet Core’s delivery of converged services, both wireless and wireline. Cloud Packet Core anchors broadband wireline and wireless technology whether it’s 2G, 3G, 4G, or 5G networks.

The flexibility Cloud Packet Core gives CSPs, offers the freedom to experiment with new services and products around a common core. Gone are the days of specialized, purpose-built networks. With that old model, “If that specific service doesn’t take off, then you’re in big trouble,” said Allan.

CSPs can integrate new services with features using ultra-reliable low latency communication (URLLC), private networking, and high-bandwidth applications like VR. They can see what works and what doesn’t and do so without having to make huge reinvestments in core infrastructure or technology. They need to be able to depend on “a common infrastructure across multiple services,” said Allan.

Even in an era dominated by network automation required by slicing, service consistency depends on a CSP’s situational awareness. The ability to efficiently manage the network and modify it based on service needs becomes critical with network slicing. CSPs have to maintain rock-solid continuity of service while managing different service level agreements or delivering specific service characteristics depending on the network slice.

The Nokia Cloud Packet Core provides key observability and monitoring benefits for CSPs with per call measurement data (PCMD), as well as per-interface and per-flow granularity. It also uses open components to make logging, tracing and monitoring more efficient and simpler.

A cloud-native packet core provides CSPs with deployment and management flexibility while maintaining a consistent operational workflow, optimized for efficiency.

“You remain in control of your assets and their use and know how effectively they’re being used,” said Allan.

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