The time for 5G is clearly now as we see from the market launches from multiple Service Providers worldwide. Enhanced speed and low latency are being marketed first. While both consumers and businesses are expected to benefit from these, it is commonly agreed that the true potential of 5G is around business services and innovation.

This is leveled against the set use cases being asked of enterprise, and in some case require a highly reliable, highly predictable network. Currently, most services are delivered on the same infrastructure, meaning both enterprise users and consumers are carried across the same access network. As such delivering and guaranteeing specific end-to-end Service Level Agreements (SLA) on a cellular network remains a complex task.

Key innovations brought in with 5G such as network slicing, and network service exposure is expected to ease this and eventually allow Service Providers to tailor their offer to the needs of the enterprise.

Innovations to deliver a highly reliable network

Network slicing effectively allows you to create miniature bespoke sub-networks, tailored to the specific needs of different users and devices. Control and user plan separation (CUPS) means key functions like security can be managed centrally, while fast, agile services are provided from the network edge, closer to the customer. This is all underpinned by telemetry, which constantly supplies the system with real-time data on how the network is running, so it can automatically adjust its operations to get the most out of resources.

While network slicing impacts how the traffic is carried from the radio to the core, network exposure enables external applications to communicate via open and secure APIs. With a 5G network to access information such as network conditions, presence, and location, etc. this information is key for the successful operation of a specific service. For example, exposure allows the connection of an enterprise controller like Cisco DNA-C (a management layer defining an enterprise how the user traffic is being handled) meaning that the same policies (e.g. QoS, security, etc.) can be seamlessly enforced on the enterprise or on the Service Provider networks.

These two concepts are vital for Service Providers wanting to transform themselves to address and deliver the requirements that the enterprise is asking for – particularly the need for transparency. The 5G evolution opens up a whole new set of capabilities in a way that external applications and users can access the network for information on anything such as how traffic is being handled, terminal location and quality of service for example.

Key success factor in this environment

Success in this environment will come from the ability of Service Providers to implement the new exposure and slicing capabilities within their networks. Creating the ability to transform not only themselves but the whole network, adopting new network-friendly technology on the packet core, as well as programmability on transport, etc.

Key Cisco Portfolio solutions

Cisco offers a range of portfolio solutions to help SPs capture enterprise market opportunities:

Cisco 5G CN

5G caters to various use cases including IoT, tactile internet, transportation, government, etc. Since they all come with their own needs and requirements, this increases network complexity and costs for Operators. In response to this, Cisco has developed its 5G solution with Operators in mind. Cisco’s strategy is to transition its customers to a Cloud-centric world, reaping the benefits of a Cloud Native solution and so equipping them to meet these needs. Cisco believes 5G is not just about new Radio, but the total end-to-end network including both RAN and Packet Core needs to evolve to cater to the needs of Operators.

Cisco Digital Network Architecture

Cisco DNA-C is helping businesses looking to re-direct their infrastructure dependent upon the needs of the service as a whole. DNA-C helps to configure all network devices in minutes, using advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to proactively monitor, troubleshoot and optimise your network. This creates the opportunity for SPs to integrate with third-party systems for improved operational processes. The DNA-C appliance activates capabilities on your network devices using the DNA software, with easy management from your dashboard.

Discover more Mobile Internet Solutions for Service Providers here.



Eric Hamel

Senior Systems Architect

Service Provider IoT solutions