Microsoft partners with the telecommunications industry to roll out 5G and more

Thursday, October 1, 2020 – 19:22 ksa

The increasing demand for always-on connectivity, immersive experiences, secure collaboration, and remote human relationships is pushing networks to their limits, while the market is driving down price. The network infrastructure must ensure operators are able to optimize costs and gain efficiencies, while enabling the development of personalized and differentiated services. To address the requirements of rolling out 5G, operators will face strong challenges, including high capital expenditure (CapEx) investments, an increased need for scale, automation, and secure management of the massive volume of data it will generate.

Today starts a new chapter in our close collaboration with the telecommunications industry to unlock the power of 5G and bring cloud and edge closer than ever. We’re building a carrier-grade cloud and bringing more Microsoft technology to the operator’s edge. This, in combination with our developer ecosystem, will help operators to future proof their networks, drive down costs, and create new services and business models.

In Microsoft, operators get a trusted partner who will empower them to unlock the potential of 5G. Enabling them to offer a range of new services such as ultra-reliable low-latency connectivity, mixed reality communications services, network slicing, and highly scalable IoT applications to transform entire industries and communities.

By harnessing the power of Microsoft Azure, on their edge, or in the cloud, operators can transition to a more flexible and scalable model, drive down infrastructure cost, use AI and machine learning (ML) to automate operations and create service differentiation. Furthermore, a hybrid and hyper-scale infrastructure will provide operators with the agility they need to rapidly innovate and experiment with new 5G services on a programmable network.

More specifically, we will further support operators as they evolve their infrastructure and operations using technologies such as software-defined networking, network function virtualization, and service-based architectures. We are bringing to market a carrier-grade platform for edge and cloud to support the operator’s goals to future proof their infrastructure with disaggregated, and containerized network architectures. Recognizing that not everything will move to the public cloud, we will meet operators where they are—whether at the enterprise edge, the network edge, or in the cloud.

Our approach is built on the acquisitions of industry leaders in cloud-native network functions—Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch and on the development of Azure Edge Zones. By bringing together hundreds of engineers with deep experience in the telecommunications space, we are ensuring that our product development process is catering to the most relevant networking needs of the operators. We will leverage the strengths of Microsoft to extend and enhance the current capabilities of industry-leading products such as Affirmed’s 5G core and Metaswitch’s UC portfolio. These capabilities, combined with Microsoft’s broad developer ecosystem and deep business to business partnership programs, provide Microsoft with a unique ability to support the operators as they seek to monetize the capabilities of their networks.

Your customer, your service, powered by our technology

As we build out our partnerships with different operators, it is clear to us that there will be different approaches to technology adoption based on business needs. Some operators may choose to adopt the Azure platform and select a varied mix of virtualized or containerized network function providers. We also have operators that have requested complete end-to-end services as components for their offers. As a part of these discussions, many operators have identified points of control that are important to them, for example:

  1. Control over where a slice, network API, or function is presented to the customer.
  2. Definition of where and how traffic enters and exits their network.
  3. Visibility and control over where key functions are executed for a given customer scenario.
  4. Configuration and performance parameters of core network functions.

As we build out Azure for Operators, we recognize the importance of ensuring operators have the control and visibility they require to manage their unique industry requirements. To that end, here is how our assets come together to provide operators with the platform they need.

CommServiceProviders

Interconnect

It starts with the ability to interconnect deeply with the operator’s network around the globe. We have one of the largest networks that connect with operators at more than 170 points of presence and over 20,000 peering connections around the globe, putting direct connectivity within 25 miles of 85 percent of the world’s GDP. More than 200 operators have already chosen to integrate with the Azure network through our ExpressRoute service, enabling enterprises and partners to link their corporate networks privately and securely to Azure services. We also provide additional routes to connect to the service through options as varied as satellite connectivity and TV White Space spectrum.

Edge platform

This reach helps us to supply operators with cloud computing options that meet the customer wherever those capabilities are needed: at the enterprise edge, the network edge, the network core, or in the cloud. The various form factors, optimized to support the location in which they are deployed, are supported by the Azure platform—providing virtual machine and container services with a common management framework, DevOps support, and security control.

Network functions

We believe in an open platform that leverages the strengths of our partners. Our solutions are a combination of virtualized and containerized services as composable functions, developed by us and by our Network Equipment Provider partners, to support operators’ services such as the Radio Access Network, Mobile Packet Core, Voice and Interconnect services, and other network functions.

Technology from Affirmed and Metaswitch Networks will provide services for Mobile Packet Core, Voice, and Interconnect services.

SOURCES:

azure.microsoft.com/en-us

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