Tech Insights

The drivers and opportunities of the new 5G

We’re at the dawn of a new age in communications, where 5G technology will revolutionize the way both people and things connect.  With speeds of up to 10x that of 4G, and latencies that could drop to as low as 1ms, along with services delivered at the edge, 5G will enable autonomous vehicles, immersive mobile gaming with AR/VR, remote health screenings and robotic surgical procedures, manufacturing automation and a host of other applications, as well as the communications and services currently delivered to your mobile device.

Clearly, the evolution of 5G and associated technologies will have a profound impact on the way we live and work.

Guy Daniels, Director of Content for TelecomTV, sits down with Jeff Edlund, CMS Chief Technology Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, to discuss 5G and HPE’s unique role in supporting telcos as they face the challenges of successfully implementing the 5G network that will drive transformation in the next decade.

Watch the full video, or check out the summary for answers to your specific questions. 


What is driving the need for a new 5G network? (0:28)

An upgraded 5G equals a transformative experience for every vertical industry.

There are three drivers for the new 5G networks:

  • The explosion of data, generated by a new suite of applications starting to emerge that are data-hungry, and require low-latency.
  • Industries around the globe are going through a digital transformation.
  • Network requirements start to sky-rocket as they digitize their information.

What are the challenges of 5G for telcos? (1:17)

5G represents a completely new architectural design for the network. Previously, networks were built in a              hierarchical fashion: core, some data centers, central offices, and then out to the towers. 5G requires that you push compute and storage as far out to the edge as you can to achieve low-latency response. This changes the service model completely for the CSP.

The second challenge for CSPs is a business one. 5G is designed using cloud-native concepts, allowing the CSP to instantiate new applications and reduce service cycle times, and that facilitates a shorter time to get a service into play for customers.

CSPs need to react quickly for both consumer and enterprise customers. They can do this by leveraging the design of the 5G network. This helps their customers move through their digital transformation with a much more agile network than 2G, 3G or 4G.

What about the needs of the enterprise? How can Telcos help them? (2:46)

The best way that Telcos can help their enterprise customers is to engage in a way where they are not just selling a network “pipe” or transport.

  • Focus on better business outcomes, and the services needed to get those outcomes.
  • This is good for the CSP, too. They will get out of the business of being a commoditized pipe, making their own revenues and margins more compelling.
  • 5G benefits the overall digital ecosystem of the service provider and the enterprise that is consuming services.

What is HPE’s solution to address 5G challenges? (3:40)

HPE offers a full stack of 5G solutions for our CSP customers, and we focus on use-cases that they can quickly monetize.

HPE has never been in a better position, through the evolution of the network generations, to bring more value to telcos.

  • We offer infrastructure that is specifically built for the cloud
  • We can put that NEBS tested, highly available carrier-grade infrastructure into the telco’s core data center
  • Our infrastructure can also sit at the edge, and is specifically designed to address power and space constraints at the edge.
  • We have our own clean-sheet, set of network functions that were designed and built to deliver a cloud-native, 5G, service-based architecture.
  • We have collaborated with best-of-breed partners, focusing on use-cases. Together with our partners we can help CSPs deliver and monetize novel new services and use-cases.

Why does 5G advocate a new network core? (5:19)

Previous generations of service providers’ network were built using proprietary appliances that were relatively inflexible. In 4G and NFV there was an effort to “liberate” the software out of the appliance and put it in a virtual machine for more flexibility. That created software monoliths, running in virtual machines, which were still relatively inflexible.

With a clean-sheet approach and a cloud-based design for 5G, you can build micro-services that can be used across a variety of applications, enabling the service provider to rapidly develop and deliver new application services for their customers.

What is HPE’s solution for the 5G core, and what makes it unique? (6:20)

HPE started with a clean sheet of paper, and left behind the technologies we employed for 2G, 3G and 4G. We used cloud-native principles and built the solution from the ground up. HPE leveraged our extensive expertise in data; we are very good at managing and utilizing extremely large databases.

Think about a subscriber in a carrier network. Each generates a tremendous amount of personal data. A CSP needs to retain entitlements and device information and be able to rapidly respond with that information for any type of a requesting application.

HPE’s best-of-breed partners complement HPE where we have expertise gaps. For example – you would not look to HPE to stand up a network tower or a base station controller. This means that, when the carrier comes to us they can get a best-of-breed, multi-vendor supported solution that will meet all of their needs, rather than buying a tightly integrated black box that gives them little flexibility.

How has HPE optimized industry standard infrastructure for telco networks? (8:07)

HPE designs and builds some of the best hardware in the entire world, whether it is commodity, off-the-shelf or customized. We have telco-hardened much of that hardware, and then we take an extra step: we create telco blueprints.

The blueprints describe how the hardware should be connected, how the hardware is configured, and what the operating stack sitting on top of it has access to, in order to deliver the highest availability, the highest scalability and the lowest latency. We take that same set of principles and transport those for the core hardware into products that we specifically build for the edge, called HPE Edgeline. These servers allow you to put a cloud-native data center on the edge.

We have many partners who are leveraging this technology. One example is Samsung, who uses the HPE Edgeline 8000 to host their vRAN solution. The short answer is that HPE provides the end-to-end infrastructure that the CSP needs to deliver a complete solution to their customers.

Telcos have invested huge amounts of capital in building out 3G and 4G. How will 5G be different? (9:46)

It is going to take an investment on the part of CSPs to implement a 5G network. The big difference will come after the initial capital investment is made. First of all, the 5G network, in particular the service architecture behind it, is cloud-native. It is designed specifically for openness and the ability for the service provider to rapidly bring on new services, instantiate them and deliver them to customers.

In terms of who will support the new 5G, a CSP needs to consider the availability of programmers and other IT professionals who have cloud-native skills. There are a great number of young people coming out of colleges with those skills, whereas the skill-pool who possessed the proprietary telco skills that were needed in 2G, 3G or 4G implementations is much smaller. This availability of skilled resources provides an opportunity for the carrier, after they make their initial investment, to reduce the economics associated with bringing new applications and services to their customers.

Is there any way that telcos can reduce the amount of up-front investment associated with 5G? (11:13)

The short answer is -- Yes! There is. And this is another differentiator for HPE.

We have our own financial services business, and beyond that, we have developed technology that we call “HPE Greenlake”. HPE Greenlake allows the service provider to put our telco solution into their data center, or out at the edge, and then pay for the solution through an as-a-service model. In this model, CSPs only pay HPE for what they consume, and hence we can help CSPs to reduce the upfront costs of deploying 5G infrastructure.

Conclusion: What is HPE’s strategy for 5G? (12:17)

We believe we have a compelling offer that is flexible, and designed and supported by the strength and depth of HPE.

HPE’s strategy is to leverage the technology and people skills of our entire company and our partner relationships We build great infrastructure for the core. We build fantastic infrastructure for the edge. We have a business unit called Communications and Media Solutions that designs the software that runs our 5G network.

Another important thing to understand about HPE is that we also have Wi-Fi and enterprise networking expertise with HPE Aruba. Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of Wi-Fi; and even with the arrival of 5G, Wi-Fi is not going to go away. We see that in-building, Wi-Fi will still be dominant for the foreseeable future. Because of Aruba and our core telco business unit, we can build some very interesting things into 5G networks, such that policy traverses across both the mobile network and the Wi-Fi network. We can enable security and a very efficient handoff between 5G and Wi-Fi 6. We can help put the CSP in the position to address their enterprise customers full needs, whether it is the on-campus/in-building network, or it’s the mobilizing of enterprise applications outside of the enterprise.

So we feel that we’ve got a compelling offer that’s very flexible, designed and supported by HPE and we feel that it can really help service providers to differentiate their offer.

Andy Bryant
Hewlett Packard Enterprise


HPE WW Telco Marketing / @AndyTelco
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About the Author


Marketing leader for HPE's telco solutions, working the strategy across our telco software, telco services, telco grade infrastructure, and Aruba at the enterprise edge.

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