Affirmed: 5G-Ready Core Is Table Stakes for Operators
Even if most of the hype behind 5G is around high-frequency radios these days, startup Affirmed says that operators are already thinking about deploying a next-generation core, well ahead of the arrival of the future radio access network (RAN).
Affirmed Networks Inc. revealed back in the spring that it has what it calls a "5G architecture." Angela Whiteford, VP of marketing and product management at Affirmed, recently told Light Reading that it helps that its software has been built around the virtualization concept from the beginning. Features like a "decomposed service and user plane" are now expected by carriers looking to future-proof their networks for 5G. (See Core Blimey! Affirmed Eyes 5G Services Evolution Next.)
Splitting the control and data planes is a crucial part of a 5G core architecture. This essentially means that in next-generation networks -- that are expected to support massive Internet of Things (IoT) services, video offerings, and more -- the user element is as close to the subscriber as possible, while the control plane can be centralized. (See The Secret of the 5G Bandwagon: SDN Is the Engine.)
Affirmed is expecting to show off more of its 5G work at Mobile World Congress in 2017.
All of this -- and more -- recently came into play in Affirmed's deal with Abu Dhabi-based Tier 1 operator Etisalat , which used Affirmed's virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) to make its first live LTE data and voice calls on its cloud platform in April this year.
Whiteford notes that the operator is also using its ePDG gateway as part of its overall bid to further "cloudify" its network. Etisalat will use it as part of introducing WiFi calling on its network. (See Affirmed Intros Virtualized Wi-Fi Gateway.)
The operator is also planning to use Affirmed systems to spin up services around connected cars, the IoT and smart cities.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading