Network virtualization to enable the future of 5G networks

One of the keys to move from 4G to 5G is network virtualization. Jessica Epley provides a definition for network virtualization, shares why it is important for 5G success, and describes some ways to achieve virtualization.

2018_India_Fibre_360x203The term “network virtualization” is becoming increasingly popular when talking about ways to successfully implement the 5G networks of the future. With requirements for throughputs of up to 10 Gbps per subscriber and ultra-reliable latency of less than 5 milliseconds, 5G networks will undoubtedly rely on network virtualization to manage spectrum and optimize Capex and Opex efficiencies, while enhancing the user experience for each individual subscriber.

Let’s talk about what network virtualization is, why it is important and ways to implement.

CLICK TO TWEET: Why will 5G networks undoubtedly rely on network virtualization? CommScope's Jessica Epley explains in this blog.

What is network virtualization?

Network virtualization is the process of consolidating hardware and software resources into a software-based, virtual network. Network virtualization is becoming increasingly important as mobile network operators (MNOs) seek to effectively manage their spectrum while maintaining their costs. Also, virtualization can benefit other areas of their networks, such as by efficiently managing network architecture and better regulating the quality of experience (QoE) for each individual subscriber.

Why is network virtualization important for 5G success?

Network virtualization will be especially important for 5G network success as mobile network operators seek to find effective solutions to manage spectrum while reducing costs. Virtual networks will allow for tremendous network efficiencies and provide operators the ability to quickly deploy new services to their customers.

What are some ways to achieve network virtualization?

There are various solutions that will help MNOs achieve 5G success through network virtualization. Some of these solutions include:

  • Centralized radio access networks (C-RANs) will provide lower latency and will require less equipment on site by moving baseband processing in the DU and CU from cell sites to a central location. In the future, C-RANs will transition to cloud radio access networks (also C-RANs), which will offload the BBU functions to commercial servers and greatly simplify network management through virtualizing the radio itself.

  • Cell virtualization will expand virtualization from the core networks to the airways, enabling MNOs to maintain numerous radio points within the footprint of a single cell, which will boost capacity through reduction of intercell capacity.

  • Network function virtualization (NFV)will enable MNOs to better manage network infrastructure to simplify the rollout of new services.

  • Network slicing,or virtual service instances, will enable MNOs to customize the QoE for different customers even when sharing common computing, storage or connectivity resources. Network slicing, along with network functions virtualization (NFV) will make new services possible, which will create top line growth.

For more information around strategies to achieve 5G, please visit our frequently asked questions and check out our newest 5G video below.