Network Functions Virtualisation key to 5G: Equinix

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by Glenn Uidam, Senior Director, Operations, Equinix Australia

As 5G networks roll out across Australia we gain access to more information, commerce, and entertainment on our mobile devices along with countless new wireless capabilities and services.

5G promises higher data rates (up to 20 Gbps), reduced latency (less than a thousandth of a second), and the ability to intelligently manage an increasing range of data types and usage.

5G redefining industries

The speed and capacity of 5G networks will prompt the creation of new applications and use cases for IoT technologies across a range of industries. For example, manufacturers will wirelessly connect machinery on the factory floor to improve productivity, quality, and safety.

Wearable devices and telemedicine will bring advanced warnings of illness and more accurate diagnoses. Vehicles with 5G modems will more efficiently and safely navigate streets and highways. Surveillance devices have potential to improve municipal, commercial, and domestic security, as well as raise a new set of concerns regarding privacy.

We’re becoming surrounded by smart connected devices as a result of greater network density and access to network services. More information processing is taking place closer to the edge to minimise latency.

5G for a multitude of services

With the evolution of mobile networks from initial voice applications to a growing range of data applications, communication and network service providers (CSP/NSP) must implement the infrastructure needed to support the new services. A major challenge to successfully rolling out 5G is meeting Australians’ expectations of quality service across the wide variety of 5G uses—voice, data, commerce, healthcare, IoT, machine-to-machine (M2M) and surveillance.

To successfully deliver 5G, providers will need to deliver these capabilities as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, using flexible infrastructure. For this, many providers will need to look beyond their own data centres. The use of geographicallydistributed colocation and interconnection providers, like Equinix,which provide proximate access to a multitude of partner and customer ecosystems, will become essential.

SDN and NFV Solutions critical

Software-defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV) are critical features that enable providers to meet the functional needs of the various services supporting 5G networks. Software-defined networks treat network device management separately from the data plane controlling network traffic. Network functions virtualisation provides actual services managed in a software-defined network.

SDN focuses on the control plane. NFV focuses on the network services that manage data

flows. SDN and NFV flexibility and adaptability allow independent scaling and deployment of services to meet throughput, processing requirements of the different 5G services.

NFV for fast, flexible deployment

A 5G network functions as a unified, intelligent entity, yet supports the independent services from different providers to meet the data communications and processing needs of customer segments—video, images, commerce, transportation, healthcare. Network functions virtualisation plays a critical role in the fast and flexible deployment of services such as security and network access, and deployment on third-party hosting infrastructures.

NFV solutions enable the physical network to be sliced into multiple virtual networks supporting the radio access networks (RAN) that handle different customer segments and environments. Network slicing is essential in supporting the availability and throughput requirements of the different services in a multi-tenant environment. With NFV solutions, software running on commodity servers replaces functionality traditionally provided by dedicated hardware devices:

High-speed gigabyte connectivity to support the increasing data demands and adoption of the latest smartphone applications worldwide. Firewall and verification services deployed at the network edge to detect and prevent intrusion by malevolent entities.

Routers deployed to minimise latency and create more intelligent networks to support critical municipal monitoring activities involving traffic, environment, utilities, and safety. Virtual switches to optimise M2M traffic, latency, and processing on the factory floor in manufacturing environments.

In the context of a SDN, NFV solutions are deployed quicklyin the data centre, on third-party hosting infrastructure, and remotely. They scale easily to support 5G expansion and are programmatically configured to allow different services inside the core network to interact and continually enhance performance.

The Potential of NFV Solutions

5G networks hold great promise and the potential to transform several industries, as well as the way we work, live, and travel. To deliver the broad reach and deployment of 5G services across the nation and at the digital edge, CSPs will need to work with colocation and interconnection providers offering carrier-grade infrastructure and a wide range of easily-deployed NFV solutions. Equinix offers a growing selection of NFV solutions to help communication and network service providers deliver the promise and potential of 5G networks.

SDN capabilities enable ever-more efficient performance and monitoring of 5G networks. The growing number of NFV solutions allow providers to quickly deploy and scale needed services across the network. NFV solutions will play a vital role in bringing the benefits of 5G to Australians everywhere.

DOCOMO joins 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation

TOKYO, Sept 2, 2019 – (JCN Newswire) – NTT DOCOMO, INC. announced today that it has joined the 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA) with the aim of further advancing the use of 5G technology in the manufacturing sector.

5G-ACIA is a major global initiative encompassing some fifty companies from diverse industries around the world, including the telecommunication and manufacturing sectors. Participants plan to collaborate in the creation of industrial 5G networks and achieve the reliability and low latency required in factory automation and for manufacturing processes. They are additionally conducting research into the more effective use of public networks and publishing white papers on various aspects of the technology.

DOCOMO has partnered with a variety of enterprises around the world and is conducting various trials of 5G-related technologies. The company is proposing to these partners a new approach to the building of 5G networks, customized to specific use-cases and requirements and addressing the partners’ need for stable, low-latency, instant communication.

“We are delighted to welcome NTT DOCOMO as our 55th member,” said 5G-ACIA Chairman Dr. Andreas Müller of Robert Bosch GmbH. “5G for Industrial IoT has gained huge momentum since the establishment of 5G-ACIA in April 2018, and it has the potential to unlock huge economic opportunities in industrial production by enabling unprecedented degrees of flexibility, productivity and usability. By the same token, manufacturing is clearly one of the most attractive new fields of application for 5G.” He added, “Thanks to its deep technical expertise, its strong involvement in standardization and innovation activities plus its large customer base, NTT DOCOMO’s participation in 5G-ACIA is certain to help to ensure that industrial 5G is a major success and to increase 5G-ACIA’s footprint in the Japanese market.”

Dr. Hiroshi Nakamura, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, NTT DOCOMO commented, “We are very pleased to have become a member of 5G-ACIA. NTT DOCOMO has been collaborating with many partners in the manufacturing sector to co-create 5G services through activities such as the ‘DOCOMO 5G Open Partner Program’ and ‘DOCOMO 5G Open LabTM’. We are looking forward to collaborating with 5G-ACIA to accelerate the expansion of the 5G global ecosystem in this industry sector.”

Going forward, DOCOMO aims to further develop its 5G technology in conjunction with the 5G-ACIA Alliance, and help its partners build networks optimized for use in factory automation.

Huawei Australia CTO: Australia to sleepwalk into world of 5G, 6G cyber-security pain

Huawei Australia Chief Technology and Cyber Security Officer David Soldani has warned that Australia risks facing serious issues with the rollout of 5G and future 6G technology unless new policies are brought in to tackle concerns around cyber-security.

“The current approach being taken towards cyber-security on 5G mobile networks solves absolutely nothing – and that will be exposed further in 6G,” he told the Emerging Innovation Summit in Melbourne

“Blocking companies from certain countries does nothing to make Australia any safer from cyber-security issues – in fact it just makes things worse because they are not addressing the real issues on cyber-security,” Soldani added, noting that although future 6G networks could deliver huge potential for new applications and services, this would also involve extra risks.

“The way that future 6G networks are designed means that the attack surface is larger for potential attacks as the traditional network boundaries and security control zone become ever wider,” he continued. ““In addition, with the converge of management and control plane, AI will poses a significant impact on network security, as it might be exploited to launch more effective attacks, and in some scenarios, the security of AI systems is a matter of life and death.”

Soldani said that unlike security vulnerabilities in traditional systems, the root cause of security weaknesses in machine learning systems centers on the lack of “explicability, which leaves openings that can be exploited by adversarial machine learning methods such as evasion, poisoning, and backdoor attacks.”

“Attackers may also implant backdoors in models and launch targeted attacks or extract model parameters or training data from query results,” he said.

Soldani called on policymakers to take note of a recent statement by the ‘Five Eyes’ countries of the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, calling for a new way to deal with cyber-security.

“The communique from the Five Eyes was absolutely clear that countries need to ensure entire supply chains are trusted and reliable to protect our networks from unauthorized access or interference,” he said. “This means there is absolutely no point in simply banning companies from certain countries.

Soldani said this, in fact, made Australia less secure “because it means we have to then increase our reliance on just one or two other vendors – neither of whom are having their equipment tested.”

Soldani also pointed out that the Five Eyes communique had stressed the need for the introduction of an evidence-based risk assessment to underpin the implementation of agreed-upon principles for setting international standards for securing cyber networks.

“Unless Australia changes it approach and adopts a standards and certification led approach to security then it will simply sleepwalk into a world of cyber-security problems in both 5G and 6G for which it is totally unprepared,” he said.

US network builder Spectrum Global Solutions highlights key demand uptick in 5G rollout lead-up

Florida-based comms network infrastructure specialist Spectrum Global Solutions has flagged it recently received US$3.6 million in new contract awards across all of the firm’s operating subsidiaries.

According to the company, the new contract awards include work orders from both new and existing customers, and are predominantly for infrastructure projects as network operators prepare for a nationwide implementation of 5G.

“We are pleased to announce over US$3.6 million in new contract awards,” said Roger Ponder, CEO of Spectrum Global Solutions. “Across the board, we are seeing network operators and carriers strengthen and expand their wireless infrastructure on the back of an ever increasing consumer demand for wireless data. These new contract awards in particular pertain to enhancing data infrastructure for the upcoming Super Bowl through improvements to hospitality facilities’ telecommunications and security infrastructure.

“As we continue to expand our service offering to support the rollout of 5G, which requires a large number of small cell deployments rather than a fewer number of larger towers as was traditionally seen, our opportunity pipeline continues to grow at a rapid rate. I look forward to continued operational execution on this front and long-term shareholder value creation,” said Ponder.

ACMA takes aim at 5G innovation with class licensing updates

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) hopes to support new innovative technologies and wireless data communications systems, including those underpinning 5G, with a range of fresh updates to the country’s class licensing arrangements.

The ACMA’s proposed variation to Australia’s Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence came into effect on 19 August, with the new licensing arrangements expected to support new technology applications and “bring Australia into line with international arrangements”.

Among the changes, which are contained in the Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence Variation 2019 (No. 1), are new arrangements for ‘all transmitters’ in the 57–64 GHz band aimed at supporting new interactive motion sensing technology that operates in this particular frequency range and can be used to enable touchless control of device functions or features.

Other changes include an expansion of frequency range for 60 GHz (57–66 GHz) data communication systems to now cover 57–71 GHz, for both indoor and outdoor usage, which the ACMA suggests will support wireless gigabit systems with applications such as backhaul for 5G and Wi-Fi.

The updates also saw the revision of arrangements for underground transmitters in certain bands, a move designed to support fixed and mobile services from 70–520 MHz to provide improved support for underground activities, such as mining.

Additionally, the new class licensing variation includes a revision of arrangements for radars in the 76–77 GHz frequency band in order to provide support for radar use in rail crossing and road safety applications.

There are also new arrangements for ground and wall penetration radar (30–12,400 MHz) to facilitate the usage of applications across a variety of industry sectors, such as agriculture, railways and underground pipe detection in the telecommunication industry.

Some of the new changes also work to align existing arrangements for ultra-wideband devices with United States and European arrangements for generic, indoor and outdoor devices operating in 3,100–3,400 MHz and 8,500–9,000 MHz ranges, along with aircraft applications (6,000–8,500 MHz), aimed at further supporting the use of such devices in Australia.

The ACMA first put the call out to industry for comment and feedback on its proposed updates to class licensing arrangements in December 2018. The updates were to be implemented by varying the Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence 2015 (LIPD Class Licence).

Now that the updates are in effect, the ACMA invites further suggestions from industry and individuals on devices and technologies for “possible future updates” to class licensing arrangements of the Low Interference Potential Devices Class Licence. 

Nokia, Zain Saudi use 5G net to demo remote viewing of Hajj pilgrimage via live VR

Nokia andbRiyadh-based mobile network operator Zain Saudi have successfully demonstrated a 5G-enabled Virtual Reality use case in the Mashaer area and the Holy Mosque area in Makkah, allowing visitors to experience the islamic Hajj* pilgrimage remotely.

As part of the demonstration, high-resolution 360-degree video feeds were transmitted to room-size displays enabling the viewers to be immersed in the experience. Zain’s 5G network was used to send the feeds from cameras deployed in multiple locations in Makkah to cover the events in real time, utilizing the enhanced mobile broadband capability for the content delivery and the low latency for the real-time camera control.

“Millions of people from around the world visit Hajj every year, ‘ said Eng. Sultan Abdulaziz AlDeghaither, CEO of Zain Saudi Arabia. “This use case will allow them to have immersive remote view of locations they have to visit such as the holy mosque to choose the best time and avoid crowds.”

“Further, the concerned authorities will be able to provide better security to the pilgrims and the people of Saudi Arabia.”

*) Hajj is annual Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah, the holiest city for Muslims. More than two million pilgrims visited Makkah as part of Hajj in 2018.

‘We will never give up on Australia’ says Huawei Australia chief exec

Huawei Australia CEO  Hudson Liu has told staff marking the Shenzhen-based firm’s 15th anniversary of entering the Australian market that the company would “never give up” on the local market.

Huawei Australia, which entered the Australian market in 2004, now has some 700 employees across the country and is generating annual revenues of about A$750 million across its network, consumer and enterprise business divisions.

“We accept that the Australian Government policy on 5G may not change in the short term but we will never give up on the Australian market, we are committed to this country in both the good times and bad times,” said Liu.“Our network business will continue to bring in solid income as we continue to deliver 4G for our existing customers and our consumer and enterprise businesses are still growing.

“No matter what is going on around us we will keep our faith in our technology and we will be patient for our opportunity to arise,” he added.

Liu said that while Australia would likely not be the first country to deploy Huawei’s 5G technology – as the firm had hoped it would be before the 5G ban was imposed- he hoped that over time that situation might change.

“Huawei has already established itself as the clear 5G leader in the global market with 50 5G contracts signed – over half of them in Europe – and commercial services already launched in the UK, Spain, Switzerland, South Korea and the Philippines and others,” he said.