Three Transforms Its Network for 5G Rollout on Platform Equinix

How Equinix data centers play a critical role in delivery of 5G services

Brenden Rawle
Three Transforms Its Network for 5G Rollout on Platform Equinix

The digital economy, or fourth industrial revolution, is expanding fast. And, while it may have begun with the rapid advances in computing power predicted by Moore’s Law, its full potential won’t be realized without fast, secure connectivity. 5G promises to fulfill that role by enabling much higher throughput, lower latency, higher availability/reliability and increased capacity than previous generations of wireless. Equinix’s 2019-20 Global Tech Trends Survey—which gathered insights from over 2,450 global IT decision-makers—showed that 40% of senior IT professionals believe 5G will require them to rearchitect their enterprises’ digital infrastructures, to make certain they can support 5G’s capabilities. Despite this anticipated upheaval, over one-third (34%) of respondents believe 5G will allow them to develop new products, and almost half (47%) believe 5G will give their business the opportunity to utilize new technologies.

Webinar: The Future is Here: Understand the Impact of 5G

5G already has a huge impact on consumer technology and will significantly alter enterprise IT in the future. In the webinar, “The Future is Here: Understand the Impact of 5G,” learn about strategies that will help your organizations understand and implement 5G technology. Find out its impact on your business and the opportunities that come with it.

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Why interconnected ecosystems will be crucial for enterprise 5G

A recent study estimates that 5G will enable $13.2 trillion of global economic output in 2035 across three broad categories including:[i]

Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB): 5G will extend cellular coverage into a broader range of structures and improve capacity, enabling use cases such as enhanced indoor/outdoor wireless broadband, enterprise collaboration, training/education, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), expanded mobile computing and improved digital signage.

Massive Internet of Things (MIoT): 5G’s low power requirements and ability to operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrums provides more flexible coverage at lower costs. This will enable significant increases in economies of scale for IoT use cases such as asset tracking and remote monitoring, smart agriculture, smart cities/homes and enhanced retail experiences.

Mission Critical Services (MCS): The high reliability/availability, low latency and secure connectivity that 5G brings will enable applications that cannot tolerate failure such as autonomous vehicles, drones, industrial automation, remote patient monitoring/telehealth and smart grids.

Delivering enterprise-grade use cases like these requires ultra-reliable, low-latency, fast and secure transport hubs for data traffic, bypassing the public internet. Telecommunications carriers have traditionally utilized their own facilities for IT infrastructure, but trends such as data growth, subsea cabling and virtualization have increased the need for interconnection between counterparts—best achieved in carrier-neutral, ecosystem-rich data centers such as those found on Platform Equinix®. Typically located within 10 milliseconds (ms) round trip time from most urban populations, these data centers make it easy to place 5G infrastructures and compute resources close to users for optimal latency and data throughput. And by colocating inside interconnected ecosystems at the edge, carriers can take advantage of critical services such as software defined networking (SDN) and interconnection with clouds, networks and business partners.

Equinix and Three: Ramping up the U.K.’s fastest 5G network

Three U.K., a leading telecommunications and internet service provider, wanted to distribute its data center network throughout the country to provide lower latency for its customers’ gaming and IoT applications, boost the resilience of its existing network and deploy a cloud-based 5G network.

5G promises major advances in data transfer speeds, connectivity and reliability. But these expectations can’t be met without data exchange points at the edge. Once the network is in place, businesses will need to re-architect to be interconnection-ready. This is vital to achieve real return on investment around 5G.” Michael Winterson, Managing Director, Equinix Services

To accomplish this, Three is deploying network nodes within Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers across the U.K. to create a virtual, cloud-based 5G network. An interconnection-based approach on Platform Equinix gives Three access to key service providers, next-generation services and a high-density platform for collecting and distributing data across a host of networks and clouds. The result is a new 5G fully-virtualized network that provides enhanced capacity, security, scalability and flexibility, in a cost-effective manner, at a time when the volume of mobile data is growing exponentially.

With this new network, Three is activating an innovative cloud-based 5G network which will utilize its 140 MHz of 5G spectrum—the highest of any telecommunications company in the U.K. By providing the necessary speed for advanced enterprise and edge use cases, it is a significant step in the development of the U.K.’s digital infrastructure and the wider development of 5G networks across the country.

Our work with Three to develop an innovative cloud-based 5G network, is emblematic of both companies’ commitment to delivering the next generation of connectivity and robust digital infrastructure. Widespread 5G coverage is set to transform the way people consume data on the move, as ultra-fast download speeds allow the seamless streaming of entertainment including videos, music and the latest augmented and virtual-reality games. But to really improve the performance and user experience, the underlying technology must be richly connected and as close as possible to the person, device or application.

We want to offer our customers the best 5G experience possible. Working with Equinix, we are moving our network closer to our customers to ensure that we deliver the lowest latency possible.” Susan Buttsworth, Chief Operating Officer, Three U.K.

Reach and ecosystems will be key for 5G

Service providers and enterprises alike are increasingly locating their latency-sensitive data and services at the digital edge, close to supporting systems, applications, and private and public clouds. This trend will only accelerate with the rollout of 5G as these organizations seek to gain competitive advantage through expanded reach and interconnection with partners. On Platform Equinix, you can interconnect physically and virtually to more than 1,800 networks, 2,900 cloud and IT service providers and 9,700 companies across 63 metros globally, making it the ideal place to roll out enterprise 5G networks.

Equinix is also supporting the progression of 5G with its 5G and Edge Proof of Concept Center (POCC). The POCC will provide a 5G and edge “sandbox” environment, enabling Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), cloud platforms, technology vendors and enterprises to directly connect with the largest edge data center platform in order to test, demonstrate and accelerate complex 5G and edge deployment and interoperability scenarios.

To learn more, watch the webinar: ”The Future Is Here: Understand the Impact of 5G”

Widespread 5G coverage is set to transform the way people consume data on the move. But to really improve the performance and user experience, the underlying technology must be richly connected and as close as possible to the person, device or application."