IBM telco network cloud ecosystem: Modernizing networks for the 5G era

By | 4 minute read | May 5, 2020

The speeds, increased capacity and reliability offered by 5G will make way for a new generation of applications, such as multimedia telemedicine, distance learning and autonomous vehicles delivered from the telco edge – all while boosting performance to existing services.

Communication service providers (CSPs), in turn, will be critical in delivering these digital services and innovations. And research suggests that they’ll need to act quickly as 5G becomes more available. In fact, our studies indicate that 77% of early adopting consumers would opt for 5G, when available, if it resulted in a superior mobile video quality experience.

As we advance into the world of 5G, providers will need to transform their networks into hybrid multicloud platforms that can support large volumes of data and that can rapidly adapt to new challenges.

A new avenue

IBM recognizes that providers are looking for more choices that offer greater service agility and that help drive down costs as they implement core network functions, virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN), security and Business & Operations Support Systems (BSS/OSS). To address CSP’s need for choice, we created a telco network cloud ecosystem community that allows providers to accelerate their service development using multi-vendor network functions that support Management and Orchestration (MANO) and European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)-compliant architectures.  In this new ecosystem, we are bringing together a set of innovative ecosystem providers across the telecommunications industry that offer a breadth of 5G network functionality that CSPs can adopt immediately.

These certified network functions work with IBM’s lifecycle management, orchestration and service assurance capabilities, such as the IBM Telco Network Cloud Manager, and can be deployed on industry leading Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenStack infrastructures. Further, IBM has invested in a dedicated ecosystem lab to work with CSP’s as they certify their network functions for interoperability and operational readiness for IBM, Red Hat and other provider products.

A promising start

We are pleased to introduce these participants, among others, in IBM’s telco network ecosystem:


Together with IBM’s lifecycle management and orchestration capabilities, ADVA’s Ensemble virtualization suite is designed to deliver open, vendor neutral networking. ADVAis introducing a universal Customer Premises Equipment (uCPE) approach to edge computing, where service providers can select from a broad set of white box servers for hosting virtual network functions or end-user applications. This collaboration creates a certified set of components for uCPE solutions that can be deployed on a well-defined, virtualized or containerized platform together with IBM’s automation, orchestration and service assurance capabilities.


Altiostar is integrating its market-leading, open RAN virtualization solution with IBM’s orchestration and service assurance offerings, designed to enable CSPs to deploy multi-vendor cloud native mobile networks that cut costs and promote agility and automation. This solution will help users introduce new cloud concepts into mobile networks and empower operators to have a web-scale, software-defined network that can support different applications and services for 5G.

F5 Networks

IBM and F5 Networks are combining their strengths to enable hybrid cloud environments. F5’s application services and infrastructures are designed to support CSPs to cost-effectively create, operate and maintain a robust hybrid telco network cloud built on IBM’s modern containerized and virtualized platform. This collaboration will help CSPs to create an open, secure, multi-access, multi-service network cloud with F5’s security and data traffic management portfolio for virtualization, edge and transition to 5G.

Juniper Networks

Joining the IBM telco network ecosystem has let Juniper Networks empower CSPs to create a truly multi-vendor network service environment. The company’s Contrail Cloud — a platform for building automated, service-ready telco clouds — integrates with IBM Agile Lifecycle Manager to let users dynamically adapt and geographically distribute capabilities based on performance and requirements. The solution includes an analytics engine that monitors the health and performance of virtualized networks and seamlessly integrates existing physical network elements with virtualized network elements, including Juniper’s vSRX firewall and vMX router.


Together, IBM and Metaswitch enable CSPs to build one of the most modern 5G networks with the lowest TCO. Built around Metaswitch’s Fusion Core, a fully containerized high-performance 5G core, we are the first to deliver the benefits of container-based orchestration and automation in the smallest footprint, which can scale all the way from private enterprise offering to large scale Tier I carrier deployments.

As 5G becomes more of an every-day reality, CSPs will more often be looking for validated configurations and solution blueprints that they can use to deploy technology with confidence. And IBM’s telco network cloud ecosystem community will be there to bring together the certified functionality that CSPs will need to modernize their networks and unlock the potential of 5G. We encourage you to find out more on how IBM is collaborating with CSPs to accelerate network transformation.