Traffic Is Building – Here Comes 5G
Mobile World Congress Americas is right around the corner and 5G solutions for addressing exponential mobile traffic growth will be at the forefront. The new venue this year is Los Angeles, CA. As one of the top tourist destinations in the country, LA has become a bit famous for its daily traffic volume. Interstates seem to be jammed at all times, and it’s incredibly difficult to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time. The infamous interstate 405 sees an estimated 374,000 vehicles per day; and the joke around LA is that it’s called the 405 because traffic moves at ‘4 or 5 mph,’ and it takes ‘4 or 5 hours’ to get anywhere.
As I prepare for my journey to MWC in a few weeks, I cannot help but notice the parallels between LA’s exploding traffic situation and the mobile industry today. LA’s traffic has always been heavy—but talk to any local and they’ll tell you that it gets exponentially worse every year. The mobile industry has always been in a state of accelerated growth, but the 5G freight train that is bearing down on us represents a whole new level of accelerated innovation. The depths of new capabilities that 5G will bring are just astonishing, and every day it feels as though 5G is going to arrive quicker than it did the day before. The 3G to 4G transition happened more quickly than 2G to 3G, and the capabilities that 4G brought were proportionally more substantial than 3G. The dawn of 5G has put the industry into absolute overdrive, with innovation occurring at such a rapid and astonishing pace. While the long-term solutions to LA traffic woes might not be around the corner, the good news is that we at Cisco have been preparing for driving the architecture shifts to alleviate the accelerated growth and demand driven by 5G through championing the next generation distributed mobile core architecture required for addressing the mobile data explosion we are about to see. We firmly believe that focusing on Radio alone in this transition is like building more lanes on the highway, a necessary but not a sufficient solution to the problem.
Central to preparing for 5G in the mobile core are enabling technologies such as Control and User Plane Separation of EPC nodes (CUPS) and cloud-native. At Cisco, we’ve been preparing for this transition for some time. We have an established base of some of the world’s largest mobile operators and have helped many transition to virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC). In fact, Cisco today serves more than 90 vEPC deployments with 300 million active subscribers and more than 600 million sessions. With that, Cisco has the underlying technology and experience to ensure a smooth transition from 4G to 5G, maintaining backward compatibility, and addressing the considerations of a cloud-native mobile core.
Cisco’s strategy for a cloud-native mobile core introduces new kinds of technology tenets, including micro-services, containers, orchestration, continuous integration and deployment, and DevOps. These tenets and their underlying design concepts enable the mobile core to be fully automated. The E2E automation and orchestration drives time to market benefits to achieve new revenue opportunities and use cases defined in 5G. Cisco’s approach to realizing a cloud-native mobile core is well under way with the realization of policy control, session management and user plane functions and the broader strategy of an end-to-end Service Based Architecture based Next Generation mobile core solution.
Please be sure to stop in on my session at Mobile World Congress Americas where I will be joining a panel discussion on Mobile IoT Deployments. The session occurs on Wednesday, September 12th at 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM and will be hosted in the Petree C conference area which is located in the Petree Hall within the West Hall. This session will feature companies who have successfully deployed low power Mobile IoT solutions leveraging the benefits of intelligent technologies. With the emergence of Mobile IoT networks, AI, edge computing and cloud infrastructure, the process of designing, securing and deploying IoT devices has become significantly less complex. I hope to see you there!
– Kishen Mangat
Stats on Los Angeles traffic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_405_(California)
Highway graphic with gridlock: https://hotshotwarriors.com/the-10-busiest-interstates-in-the-united-states/
Google traffic graphic: https://www.google.com/maps