“A necessity in the era of 5G is shifting computing and communications from the core network and centralized cloud to distributed capability across the edge.” – Laurent Marchand, CEO, Kaloom

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since the pandemic shifted the ways people live, work and attend school. Nearly all work, learning and personal entertainment are remote, dependent upon fast connection speeds to communicate, stream movies and play video games.

For Communications Service Providers (CSPs) transforming their 5G networks, handling these drastic shifts in network patterns means the need to shift computing and communications from the core network and centralized cloud to distributed capability across the network edge.

A distributed cloud native edge architecture offers the benefit of ultra-low latency, enabling real-time interaction between things that may be thousands of miles away and giving the ability to connect a massive number of devices simultaneously, such as autonomous vehicles, fleets and smart manufacturing.  

To manage this dramatic increase in network traffic, one of the primary goals for moving to a cloud platform is to benefit from cloud automation tooling and best practices employed by the Hyperscale community to achieve extreme levels of operational automation in their environments.

Network automation can prove critical to this effort by improving service availability and reducing operational costs. For example, zero-touch provisioning of the virtual network and virtual components enables minimal-to-no human intervention, reducing manpower, human errors and operational costs (OPEX).

In the past, mobile networks provided a small number of services, such as consumer mobile broadband or voice. A cloud native and open design means that not only can devices receive tailored connectivity for their needs, but enterprise applications can now be deployed closer to these devices with multi-access edge computing (MEC) to provide supporting content, analytics or control logic.

Think about this from the perspectives of both the customer and the CSP:

  • 5G network slices can be dynamically created and programmed to provide customers with their own individual mobile network and subscriber management that can be continually updated to meet their evolving needs.
  • CSPs also benefit, in that an edge data center can be partitioned by a Data Center Infrastructure Provider (DCIP) into multiple independent virtual data centers, with each virtual data center being provided its own virtual fabric called a vFabric.

Where cloud and 5G really deliver significant net-new value is by allowing mobile devices to interact directly with IT applications deployed within the mobile network itself or inside their premises.

For example, video analytics deployed at the edge of the network can receive streamed video from a set of 5G-connected cameras to make decisions in real time to avoid flooding the mobile network with high volumes of raw video data.  

In the case of unplanned changes that need to be dealt with in an ad-hoc fashion, AIOps can identify issues and anomalies and even start to proactively diagnose if detected anomalies are side effects of unreported issues that could cause disruption to network services.

IBM and Kaloom are collaborating to drive levels of network automation even further. There is a mutual focus on the application of AI and automation processes to optimize the desired network service topology itself, based on improving costs and network performance or provisioning network components to avoid a predicted outage.

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