Accelerate 5G with Microsoft, Intel, and Capgemini

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Accelerate 5G with Microsoft, Intel, and Capgemini

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Promise of Disaggregation in Radio Access Networks
    • 2.1 Faster Rollout of Telco Networks
    • 2.2 Lower Total Cost of Ownership
    • 2.3 New Revenue Streams
    • 2.4 Enabling Developer Ecosystem
  3. Leveraging Cloud Technologies for Operational Efficiency
    • 3.1 Managing Secure Virtualized Networks at Scale
    • 3.2 Compute Capabilities for AI and ML
    • 3.3 Performance Optimization and Anomaly Detection
  4. Azure Operator Distributed Services Solution
    • 4.1 Hybrid Cloud Platform for Telco Network Functions
    • 4.2 Architectural Components
  5. Deployment Diagram for vDU and vCU in Operator Networks
    • 5.1 Placement and Deployment Needs
    • 5.2 Far Edge Deployment Scenario
  6. Demo Setup and Bootstrapping with Azure Operator Distributed Services
    • 6.1 Commercial Off-the-Shelf Servers with Intel Silicon
    • 6.2 Connection with Radio Unit and Grandmaster Clock
    • 6.3 Bootstrapping and Cloud Init File
    • 6.4 Remote Insertion of Bootstrap Image
  7. Deployment of Capture IV Run Network Function
    • 7.1 Azure Network Function Manager
    • 7.2 Base Station Deployment
    • 7.3 Monitoring and Troubleshooting
  8. Conclusion

🔍 Introduction

With the advancement of technology in the telecommunications industry, the disaggregation of software and hardware in radio access networks has become a promising approach. This approach aims to accelerate the rollout of Telco networks while reducing the total cost of ownership. Additionally, it creates new revenue streams and enables the developer ecosystem to take advantage of programmable networks. In this context, cloud technologies play a crucial role in improving operational efficiency. They provide the necessary tools to manage highly secure virtualized and disaggregated networks at scale. The cloud's compute capabilities, especially for AI and ML, are instrumental in optimizing performance, enhancing management, and detecting anomalies across the various disaggregated components.

🌐 The Promise of Disaggregation in Radio Access Networks

2.1 Faster Rollout of Telco Networks

Disaggregation of software and hardware enables network operators to deploy Telco networks more quickly. By separating the network functions from proprietary hardware, operators can leverage commercial off-the-shelf hardware equipped with advanced components like Intel Silicon. This eliminates the reliance on specific vendors and allows for faster procurement and deployment of network infrastructure.

2.2 Lower Total Cost of Ownership

By decoupling software and hardware, the total cost of ownership for Telco networks can be significantly reduced. Operators have the flexibility to choose hardware components that best suit their requirements and budgets, without being locked into expensive proprietary solutions. This leads to cost savings in equipment procurement, maintenance, and upgrades.

2.3 New Revenue Streams

Disaggregation opens up new opportunities for revenue generation in the telecommunications industry. With programmable networks, operators can offer innovative services and personalized experiences to their customers. By leveraging the developer ecosystem, operators can create and deploy network functions faster, enabling the rapid introduction of new services and generating additional revenue streams.

2.4 Enabling Developer Ecosystem

The disaggregation of software and hardware paves the way for a thriving developer ecosystem in the telecommunications industry. With programmable networks, developers can create and deploy their network functions, leveraging APIs and open interfaces. This fosters innovation, accelerates the development of new services, and encourages collaboration between network operators and software developers.

☁️ Leveraging Cloud Technologies for Operational Efficiency

3.1 Managing Secure Virtualized Networks at Scale

Cloud technologies provide the necessary tools to manage highly secure virtualized networks at scale. By leveraging cloud platforms like Azure, network operators can benefit from robust security measures, automated provisioning, and centralized management. This ensures the reliability, scalability, and integrity of the network infrastructure.

3.2 Compute Capabilities for AI and ML

The compute capabilities offered by the cloud play a crucial role in optimizing the performance of Telco networks. With the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), operators can analyze network data, predict network behavior, and automate network operations. This results in improved network efficiency, enhanced user experiences, and proactive issue resolution.

3.3 Performance Optimization and Anomaly Detection

Cloud technologies enable operators to optimize network performance and detect anomalies across the disaggregated run components. With cloud-based monitoring and analytics tools, operators can gain real-time insights into network performance, identify bottlenecks, and proactively address issues. This leads to better network reliability, improved quality of service, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

🌍 Azure Operator Distributed Services Solution

4.1 Hybrid Cloud Platform for Telco Network Functions

Azure Operator Distributed Services is a hybrid cloud platform that provides a robust environment for Telco network functions. It combines the power of Azure with the flexibility of distributed services, allowing operators to deploy and manage network functions efficiently. This solution offers seamless integration with the Azure ecosystem, ensuring scalability, reliability, and security.

4.2 Architectural Components

The architectural components of the solution include commercial off-the-shelf hardware equipped with Intel Silicon, Capgemini's open run network functions (vCU and vDU), and Microsoft's cloud management platform through Azure Operator Distributed Services. Intel provides Xeon scalable processors, PTP enabled NICs, and Layer 1 accelerator cards, all leveraged by the FlexRAN Layer 1 software. This collaboration enables operators and enterprises to easily and securely deploy open run network functions.

🚀 Deployment Diagram for vDU and vCU in Operator Networks

5.1 Placement and Deployment Needs

The placement of vDU (virtualized distributed unit) and vCU (virtualized central unit) in operator networks depends on various deployment needs. Operators can choose to deploy vDU closer to the network edge or in a centralized hub, depending on factors such as network architecture, latency requirements, and scalability needs. The deployment diagram helps operators understand the optimal placement strategy for vDU and vCU.

5.2 Far Edge Deployment Scenario

This demo focuses on the far edge deployment scenario, where vCU and vDU are collocated at a hub site. By deploying network functions at the far edge, operators can reduce latency and improve the overall performance of the network. This deployment scenario is particularly suitable for applications requiring real-time interactions and low-latency connectivity.

🛠️ Demo Setup and Bootstrapping with Azure Operator Distributed Services

6.1 Commercial Off-the-Shelf Servers with Intel Silicon

The demo setup includes four commercial off-the-shelf servers equipped with Intel Silicon. These servers provide the necessary compute power and resources to support Telco network functions. The use of off-the-shelf hardware ensures cost-effectiveness and flexibility in terms of hardware selection.

6.2 Connection with Radio Unit and Grandmaster Clock

In the demo setup, a radio unit capable of 4x4 MIMO with a hundred-megahertz bandwidth is connected to the top-of-rack switch. The radio unit receives synchronization from a grandmaster clock connected to the same switch. This synchronization ensures the accurate timing and coordination of network operations.

6.3 Bootstrapping and Cloud Init File

The setup is bootstrapped using the Azure Operator Distributed Services solution. This involves generating a bootstrap image and submitting a request to Azure through the cloud resource provider. The cloud init file contains the necessary bootstrap logic, deployment manifests, and customer subscription information. It ensures a smooth and automated deployment process.

6.4 Remote Insertion of Bootstrap Image

Once the network Fabric has been configured, the bootstrap image can be remotely inserted via Redfish. Redfish is a standardized management interface for servers, enabling remote configuration and management. The remote insertion of the bootstrap image streamlines the deployment process, saving time and effort.

🚀 Deployment of Capture IV Run Network Function

7.1 Azure Network Function Manager

The deployment of the capture IV run network function of vCU and vDU is achieved using the Azure Network Function Manager. This management tool simplifies the deployment process by providing a managed application and predefined templates. Operators can easily create a base station using the templates and populate the required inputs and run parameters.

7.2 Base Station Deployment

By clicking submit, operators can trigger the deployment of a new vRun site using the predefined helm Chart on the target far edge cluster. The helm chart contains the necessary configuration and deployment instructions for the base station. The deployment process ensures that all the components of the vRun site become active, enabling smooth operation of network functions.

7.3 Monitoring and Troubleshooting

Once the vRun is connected to the core network and end devices are attached, application metrics start flowing into Azure Monitor and Log Analytics. Operators can track key performance indicators like SINR (Signal-to-Interference-plus-Noise Ratio) for each connected user, allowing for effective troubleshooting and issue resolution. This monitoring capability ensures optimal network performance and user satisfaction.

📝 Conclusion

In conclusion, the disaggregation of software and hardware in radio access networks brings significant benefits to Telco operators. It enables faster network rollout, reduces the total cost of ownership, opens up new revenue streams, and fosters a thriving developer ecosystem. By leveraging cloud technologies, operators can achieve operational efficiency, optimize network performance, and detect anomalies. The Azure Operator Distributed Services solution provides a robust platform for managing Telco network functions, facilitating seamless deployment and management. With the deployment of the capture IV run network function, operators can enhance their monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities, ensuring efficient network operations and improved user experiences.

Highlights:

  • Disaggregation of software and hardware in radio access networks promises faster rollout, lower costs, and new revenue streams.
  • Cloud technologies enable efficient management of virtualized networks and provide compute capabilities for AI and ML.
  • Azure Operator Distributed Services offers a hybrid cloud platform for Telco network functions.
  • Deployment diagrams help operators determine the optimal placement of vDU and vCU in their networks.
  • Demo setups showcase the integration of commercial off-the-shelf hardware, run network functions, and cloud management platforms.
  • Bootstrap image generation and remote insertion streamline the deployment process.
  • Azure Network Function Manager simplifies the deployment of network functions.
  • Monitoring and troubleshooting tools improve performance and enhance user experiences.

FAQ

Q1: How does disaggregation benefit Telco network operators?

Disaggregation benefits Telco network operators by enabling faster network rollout, reducing costs, opening up new revenue streams, and fostering a developer ecosystem.

Q2: How can cloud technologies improve network management?

Cloud technologies provide tools for managing secure virtualized networks at scale, offering robust security measures, automated provisioning, and centralized management.

Q3: What are the architectural components of the Azure Operator Distributed Services solution?

The architectural components include commercial off-the-shelf hardware equipped with Intel Silicon, Capgemini's open run network functions, and Microsoft's cloud management platform through Azure Operator Distributed Services.

Q4: How is the deployment of network functions achieved in the demo setup?

The deployment of network functions is achieved using the Azure Network Function Manager, which simplifies the process through managed apps and predefined templates.

Q5: How can operators monitor and troubleshoot network performance?

Operators can monitor and troubleshoot network performance by leveraging Azure Monitor and Log Analytics, which provide real-time insights and key performance indicators like SINR for troubleshooting.

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