For the past few years, all of us in the industry have been talking about 5G.  Much of the discussion has been around the excitement of new spectrum and radios to enable that – it was all about ENABLING 5G. This year is different – the discussion now is about what we are all DOING with 5G.

There are a lot of vendors talking about 5G architectures, new things like Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) – where we’re moving the cloud closer and closer to the edge of the network.  But as I said, now it’s really all about what new services 5G enables – and that’s where Cisco plays a strong role.

Cisco supports 5G in three primary ways:

  • Services – how we enable 5G services so service providers (SPs) can make more money;
  • Infrastructure – how we help build the 5G infrastructure;
  • Automation – how we make this mass scale simpler to operate.

So, let me share a bit about each one of these areas.



With 5G, we help SPs move from being bandwidth providers to Network as a Services (NaaS) providers – including for enterprise customers who are asking for dedicated and secure network slices on-the-fly.  We help with that through our 5G-enabled IP products,  our 5G packet core, our cloud services, and with our service enablement.  At MWC, we are demonstrating network slicing and how we are giving our customers the ability to control the network, using technologies like Segment Routing and IPv6.

With 5G, we help SPs provide full-service offerings for IOT service in retail, mining, transportation and more, by providing them device management through our Jasper product lines,  ruggedized routers, and the entire cloud and data management platform with Kinetic. At MWC, we are showing how we help bring a whole new revenue stream to our customers.

We have several other use cases such as managed and virtual reality collaboration managed services, SDWAN and more – this is where Cisco really comes through to help SPs – leveraging the new 5G architecture to launch new, revenue-generating services.

At the show, we are announcing 5G now – which means that operators can get started with a 4G infrastructure to prepare for 5G optimized services.



Cisco’s history comes from enabling infrastructure and we continue to lead in this space with our virtual packet core and CUPS (control/user plane separation), SONFlex, new access 500 series routers, 5G core and IP core, Security, and OpenRAN.

We are making a lot of announcements with customers around these products and services at the show.

We continue to push the needle on performance, density, virtualization, cloud, and mobility to help make 5G a reality, and we’re scaling networks in an entirely different way. The point here is that 5G is not just about the new spectrum, it’s about changing the entire network to be highly scalable.



This brings me to a critical point – with this mass scale 5G network – SPs need to SIMPLIFY their operations.   We can no longer count on humans to configure, monitor, manage, and change the network – it’s just too big for people to handle manually.

What we are doing with our automation platform is truly disruptive.  We are not just taking telemetry and data and showing red/yellow/green warnings, we are actually automating configurations, monitoring, self-learning and self-healing networks.

In the future,  networks will self-optimize, and this is where Cisco is leading.   We just announced our Cisco Crosswork automation platform and we have ready-to-go bundles for SPs to get started in their next generation automation journey.

At the show, we are announcing customers who have signed up to use our automation platform,  and we are already working with many more operators on this,  as automation is one of the key focus areas for them.  Operational costs cannot scale with the current 5G network scale, and we can no longer afford manual errors in our networks.

With our automation platform, SPs are experiencing 78 percent faster customer service onboarding; 81 percent faster execution of change requests; 84 percent faster execution of maintenance procedures; and a 70 percent improvement in mean time to repair (MTTR) –  real improvements that are already happening.

Threading through the whole Cisco 5G story is security.  We’re bringing the full toolkit, including our Umbrella and Stealthwatch security platforms. And, our Cisco Professional Services force is also always on hand, to help with easy deployment and custom-fit options that work across componentized hardware, software, and automation.

Cisco is leading in 5G’s next phase.  We’re leading in 5G services, infrastructure, automation, security and professional services, and we’re ready to take you with us on this exciting 5G journey.

Be sure to watch for all of our product and customer news coming out in the next few days, and if you’re going to MWC, stop by to see us in Hall 3, #E30  — I look forward to seeing you in Barcelona!



Yvette Kanouff

Senior Vice President/General Manager

Service Provider Business