PARTNER INTERVIEW: Operators globally, large and small are preparing to leverage 5G by investing in open, autonomous networks that can support all software in any cloud environment. These investments will enable mobile broadband today, and deliver a range of new services tomorrow, from real-time video analytics to remote medicine to vehicle-to-everything.

Expectations have changed. Speed matters. There is a requirement for innovation to take place at software speed. Telecom software vendors play a pivotal role as operators undertake this transformation. That is why Mavenir is building the future of networks and pioneering advanced technology, focusing on the vision of a single, software-based automated network that runs on any cloud.  Mavenir brings to market an end-to-end fully cloud-native open solution portfolio, enabling operators to migrate functions to software and manage the entire network with a single automation toolset.

Platforms for innovation

Forward-thinking operators see their networks as platforms for innovation, and understand the value created when 5G is combined with enterprise applications. This requires open interfaces and network functions defined by software rather than hardware. According to a recent Mobile World Live survey of 156 global operators, 74 per cent have virtualised some network functions, and 11 per cent stating to have all functions virtualised. 98 per cent confirm to be currently considering open architectures, with 75 per cent of the respondents listing the move to open architectures as an ‘essential step’ or ‘critical process’.

Software-based network functions based on open interfaces give operators maximum flexibility.

“It started with core for the brownfield operators”, explained Mavenir’s Bejoy Pankajakshan, chief technology and strategy officer. He said greenfield operators like Dish Network and Rakuten are “starting end-to-end” with open interfaces.

Open interfaces will also make it easier for enterprises to leverage 5G on their chosen infrastructure. For example, Mavenir uses 5G to run artificial intelligence (AI) applications on Nvidia GPUs, enabling real-time video analytics for manufacturers.

“You’re seeing all these layers being disrupted, starting with the radio layer and all the way up to the application” said Pankajakshan. “That is all possible because it’s an open system”.

Open systems make it possible to validate solutions across a range of hardware and infrastructure, and Mavenir has led the industry here. This enables the vendor to offer operators the greatest possible range of choices when it comes to hardware, software, and cloud environments. When network functions can run in any cloud environment, operator networks can support a wide range of applications and use cases.

Clarity on the cloud

There are increasingly more operators that are moving forward, embracing the future, leveraging cloud scale and innovating to offer new, exciting and cost-effective services to their customers. 92 per cent of the MNOs surveyed classify as serious about Open RAN by stating to be either in current deployment, on trial or evaluating Open RAN, and 94 per cent have plans to deploy within the next five years.

Operators understand the value of cloud-native networks. More than three quarters of those surveyed by Mobile World Live are moving toward the cloud, and 78 per cent favor a hybrid cloud or other cloud model.

One network that runs all software in any cloud is now the gold standard for network operators, enabling them to dynamically launch new services, adopt innovative technologies, and support enterprise applications in any environment.

As operators integrate gear made by multiple radio vendors, they will need sophisticated yet simple automation solutions to orchestrate their networks. Pankajakshan said MNOs will want a common toolset that can manage the RAN software as well as the packet core.

In addition, MNOs will want automation software that can run in multiple cloud environments, since operators and their enterprise customers will want to leverage best of breed solutions from all the public cloud providers. Pankajakshan thinks this trend will only accelerate as more companies invest in 5G and Open RAN.

“The investment in this ecosystem far outweighs the investment of any one company investing in proprietary solutions”, he said. “That’s what Open RAN enables”.

Indeed, investment is flowing into mobile networks from many industries, and this trend is likely to accelerate in the coming years, as mobile becomes foundational to industrial operations, healthcare, education and logistics. Mavenir will help MNOs thrive in this new environment by developing agile, autonomous networks that can run all software in any cloud.

To download a full copy of the survey results click here.