It’s that time of year again when innovation-driven companies articulate what’s in store for the industry.
At the start of the year, Nokia predicted five technological developments to hit the telecommunications industry in 2022. As a follow-up, the company is now looking at key trends that are likely to gain traction in 2023 and beyond.
Orchestration Edge at the center of the stage. Edge computing hosts and enables applications to run at the edge of the network to facilitate data collection, processing, storage, and analysis near end-user devices. Simultaneously, the edge cloud brings the capabilities and benefits of cloud services closer to user equipment and, in the case of 5G, industrial radio devices and Industrial IoT (IIoT) application functions.
It is this proximity to the edge cloud, coupled with edge computing, that delivers benefits such as low latency, availability, and reliability to user applications and delivers required performance use cases like ‘IoT, augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) and industry 4.0. With 5G monetization as the prize, cloud computing technology at the edge will proliferate rapidly as communications service providers (CSPs) deploy 5G networks with dozens of central sites and thousands of distributed sites at the edge of the cloud. To be able to successfully deploy and manage various edge computing use cases, services and applications, it is obvious that orchestrating resources across geographically dispersed, small footprint edge data centers will be the next challenge for CSPs and large enterprises. Such deployments will require an advanced level of context-aware intelligent automation and real-time convergence of network, services and application resources at the network edge to meet a multitude of user demands with high agility and reduced operational costs.
Digital twins to guide network operations. In the world of telecommunications, a digital twin is a virtual representation of a network (services and applications) based on real-time data from multiple sources such as ML data lakes, edge clouds, IoT devices, subscriber data, sensors, etc. The goal is to use simulation and machine learning to visualize and predict the effects of different scenarios without having to implement them in physical networks.
As CSPs embrace and accelerate digital transformation to meet complex vertical consumer and industry 5G use cases, digital twins could monitor and augment these complex systems in real time. This will help CSPs better understand the network, processes, and customers, and their impact on each other.
Early use cases for Nokia Core Networks include network monitoring with anomaly prediction and self-healing, visual network planning and configuration for impact analysis before network deployment, and network simulation. energy consumption and the cost of running services depending on the function.
5G satellite access to reach new heights. Nokia expects a boom in satellite access for terrestrial networks (NTN) that use spacecraft/airborne vehicles for transmission as well as devices that connect directly to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. 5G NTN standardization for 5G Advanced (R18) technology is considered an integral part of 6G to provide connectivity everywhere. NTN 5G Satellite Access creates many possibilities, including global 5G connectivity in areas without terrestrial coverage, fixed wireless access, and low data rate IoT services for long battery life.
Build more features on top of Core SaaS. Core Network Software-as-a-Service (Core SaaS) offers hardware, software, and services bundled into a paid subscription based on growth. In 2023 and beyond, services will be distributed, deployed and run across multiple resources, and CSPs will evolve from Core SaaS to N+aaS (Networks-and-more-as-a-Service) with cloud, connectivity, context and data assets offered to businesses. The current way of delivering Core SaaS from public clouds will be extended to use local resources to provide low latency, efficient data transfer, and to meet the enhanced security and privacy requirements of future augmented reality applications, games or automation that require local anchors.
Network of networks and cloud federation to make new things possible. For CSPs to facilitate N+aaS, network of networks or cloud federations will be a key development in delivering and sharing complex resources from multiple cloud environments such as public clouds, private clouds, and cloud hybrid, as well as on-premises data centers. With the adoption of federated cloud ecosystems, users can enjoy increased reliability, flexibility to deploy assets across multiple cloud providers based on their business needs, and services that operate multiple assets as chains of distributed services. However, cloud federation is an emerging topic, so much effort is still needed to seamlessly integrate multiple assets with appropriate security and rights for users.
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