Accelerating 5G with Disaggregated Network Routers


by Andrew Lui

The 5G momentum is stronger than ever before. Although 5G RAN deployments seems to have peaked on a global scale, the same can’t be said the same for 5G services, which is just starting to accelerate. Industry 4.0, private 5G, AI, and a myriad of new services and applications are going to be supported by telecommunications transport networks.

Support 5G Networks with Efficient and Scalable Transport Architectures

Telecommunications transport networks are an essential part of the transformation to a next-gen. 5G network. These networks are the backbone of the internet, connecting users, devices, and data centers across the globe.

As the use of digital services and applications continues to grow, the demand for efficient and scalable network architecture becomes increasingly important. A well-designed and optimized telecommunications transport network is necessary to ensure that users have access to the data and services they need. It also provides the service provider with the capacity to support technologies that require high levels of bandwidth, low latency, and reliable connectivity such as 5G IoT, AI chat bots, and cloud computing.

Implementing disaggregated and open network equipment into the telecom transport network can bring significant benefits, including increased flexibility, cost savings, and scalability. This has motivated many service providers around the world have testing and implementing disaggregated and open routers throughout their transport network.

Benefits of Disaggregated and Open Network Equipment

Disaggregated and open network equipment refers to network infrastructure hardware and software that are designed to be modular and interchangeable, allowing different components from different vendors to be used in the same system. This is in contrast to traditional proprietary network equipment, where the hardware and software are tightly integrated and are typically only compatible with equipment from the same vendor.

Disaggregated network equipment allows network operators to choose the best hardware and software components for their specific needs, rather than being limited to a single vendor's product offerings. This can result in greater flexibility, lower costs, and better performance, as network operators have more options for solutions, higher bargaining power, and more vendor selections for strengthening the supply chain.

Equipment that support open networking also differs from proprietary network equipment in that it uses open standards and protocols, making it easier to integrate with other systems and software. Open standards also promote greater interoperability and innovation, as multiple solution vendors can contribute to the development and evolution of the networking technologies such as SDN/NFV, SRv6 and more.

Building Flexible Scalability with Distributed Disaggregated Routers

Everyone talks about the need for a scalable network to support 5G. Compared to 4G, 5G is expected to have 100 times the user data rate and 10 times the connections, but will require a large number of small cells for 5G coverage. To visualize the amount of data 5G will be introducing to the network, you can look no further than the progression of data traffic on AT&T’s network.

AT&T is quite transparent with their network’s data traffic growth over the years. With their first launch of 5G at the end of 2018, I went as far back as 2017 where they mentioned that their network had an average 150 petabytes of traffic per day. In a recent blog, they mention that with the introduction of 5G, AT&T’s network traffic load amounts to about 594 petabytes per day. That is about an increase of 296% of daily traffic since the introduction of their 5G services.

They were well prepared, as mentioned in their blog, they have been preparing for this growth since 2013 with the release of their Domain 2.0 Vision white paper, where they highlighted their motivations to adopt disaggregated and open network equipment into their networks. To date, AT&T has already migrated more than 52% of their production traffic onto their next gen. core routers, which are built with UfiSpace S9700 open core network routers powered by DriveNets Network Cloud software.

The S9700 series consists of 25G, 100G, and 400G disaggregated white box routers interconnected as a Distributed Disaggregated Chassis (DDC) to enable piece-meal network capacity upgrades, scalable up to 691Tbps per routing cluster. The flexibility comes into play when the core network equipment can be built in any combination of 25G, 100G, and 400G routers. Also, the service provider can choose when and where to add more network routers for upgrading core node capacity.

Distributed disaggregated core network architectures also allow the service provider to move network control to the cloud, which can be configured and upgraded remotely. This means, configurations are no longer limited by personnel availability, travel distance or times from local offices, or what is available on the hardware. This remote flexibility enabled service providers to more efficiently roll out 5G and fiber, launch 5G services faster than ever before, and offer more advanced services to their customers.

Implementing Disaggregated Network Routers throughout the 5G Transport Network

Disaggregation is not limited to just the core network, rather it can be implemented throughout the whole transport network. In AT&T’s blog, they show that it can be done. By deploying disaggregated routers into the access, aggregation, edge, and core networks, they are able to reap the benefits from every part of their network.

Service providers now have more options than ever before when it comes to implementing a disaggregated network architecture. UfiSpace has been one of the leading enablers for that. Learn more about how you can bring disaggregation and open networking into your transport network with our solutions below:
Access Network
Metro Aggregation Network
Core Backbone Network

In this Article: 5G Applications Technology