Nokia: 5G can’t be done properly without cloud computing

Nokia exec: ‘You cannot do 5G properly without taking advantage of cloud computing technologies”

To demonstrate just how varied Nokia’s approach to 5G is, the Finnish company’s Global Head of Mobile Networks Marketing Sandro Tavares explained to RCR Wireless News that its 20 global 5G contracts that have gone live span all different spectrum zones and all different technologies, including macro cells, massive MIMO, small cells and more.

“We right now are counting 69 deals on 5G, globally,” said Sandro, adding that it’s important to remember that  5G is more than just radio, evident in the fact that 60% of those deals are end-to-end solutions, and therefore, cover a lot more than just radio systems.

“Especially as you move further towards 5G standalone (SA), and even on NSA, the capabilities across the network are extremely important — transport, the mobile core, all of that is important,” he continued.

With the introduction to 5G SA to the conversation, Sandro provided some insight into 5G’s next biggest chapter.

“The expectation is that 5G SA will start to reach maturity throughout this year,” he offered. “By the end of this year, we should start to see initial deployments, and it should reach mainstream sometime next year.”

He also stated that the high interest in SA from the enterprise and industry side of things — to power low-latency applications — will likely speed up its deployment and adoption.

“A lot of these innovative use cases that we talk about with 5G are enabled by SA, especially when you’re talking about ultra-low latency applications, like IoT,” he said.

One thing that Sandro really wanted to get across is how critical cloud computing is to 5G’s success, stressing that 5G cannot be “done properly” without taking advantage of cloud computing.

“Cloud computing technologies play a significant role in enabling 5G,” he continued, “even if we take a more conservative approach, and deploy the 5G radio access in a ‘classic’ way, with the classic approach of hardware that is built for the purpose for the radio access, the core is going to the cloud regardless.”

He added that once we get to 5G SA and the requirements for low latency become “more pervasive and more present,” the networks and cloud infrastructure are going to evolve to amore distributed approach.

“You’re building smaller, and in some cases, very small, data centers closer to the edge of the network so you can host the infrastructure and the applications that they’re going to be delivering,” he explained further.

In addition, the applications — whether consumer or industrial — on 5G networks will also be running on the cloud, either the public cloud or private clouds built by operators. But the cloud, nonetheless.

Finally, he said that even for the radio access, there is a lot of movement towards virtualizing the RAN, which, Sandro points out is basically utilizing cloud computing technology to run the baseband processing for the base stations.

“That is something that some of our customers are already doing and still others will do,” he concluded, “and it’s an extremely valid option for the optimization for the capacity of the RAN.”

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