Faster Wireless Network Deployment Enables Next-Gen Telco Services

Equinix and Nokia partner to help telco operators deploy mobile network infrastructure as a service, quickly and cost-effectively

Rodney Elder
Faster Wireless Network Deployment Enables Next-Gen Telco Services

With that 5G icon now brightly illuminating your phone’s status bar most of the time and apps running faster than ever, it’s evident this next generation of wireless connectivity is firmly established. Mobile network operators are making impressive strides toward upgrading the radio networks to this advanced standard.

While some operators are carefully processing upgrades of the infrastructure that powers 5G networks behind the scenes, these backend upgrades are not merely about speed and efficiency; they’re about unlocking a new world of possibilities for businesses and consumers alike.

Enabling advanced wireless infrastructure with Nokia Core SaaS

Nokia is one company that was looking to help its customers unlock the full value of 5G. In this pursuit, they found a strong partner in Equinix, the world’s digital infrastructure company®. Equinix is the preferred partner for service providers worldwide, with thousands of network, cloud and SaaS providers already connected to our digital ecosystem. We also offer a well-defined set of APIs to help customers acquire and manage Bare Metal as a Service and Network as a Service offerings. These components seamlessly integrate into Nokia’s end-to-end automation framework.

Nokia collaborated with Equinix to pioneer a groundbreaking SaaS solution that utilizes the Equinix dedicated cloud platform to help operators better deploy, manage and scale their core network services. The solution, known as Core SaaS, enables all the advantages of enhanced 5G infrastructure without burdening operators with hefty capital investments. This innovative solution offers a low-risk opportunity to explore innovative business models, use cases and services, all powered by a remarkably versatile and efficient network architecture.

Hardware flexibility enables UPFs at the edge

At the heart of the ongoing global 5G transformation lies the user plane function (UPF), the workhorse of 5G networks. Traditionally limited to network-core data centers, UPFs have now found a more efficient home at the digital edge, closer to end users. Ensuring proximity to end users helps keep latency low and enhance network performance. Cloud-hosted UPFs embody the flexibility of cloud services, helping telcos scale their networks with remarkable ease.

In the past, telcos have often found it difficult to get the hardware resources they need to support their UPFs. The Nokia solution, residing on Equinix Metal®, helps operators avoid these challenges. It operates in containers on bare metal infrastructure, using the Red Hat OpenShift Kubernetes engine. This gives operators an unprecedented level of flexibility and control over their networks by addressing the need for effective underlying hardware resources at the edge.

As a result, operators can enable crucial 5G workload capabilities, such as single-root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) and the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK). The SaaS platform comes with integrated automation and intelligence capabilities, which help optimize the scaling and placement of these on-demand networks.

The strategic placement of Nokia Core SaaS in Equinix IBX® data centers at the local network edge—a  global hub for cloud providers, network operators, and enterprises—unlocks the potential for innovative revenue-generating services. This geographical proximity also helps avoid data bottlenecks. When data transfers consistently happen without delays, it becomes easier to create groundbreaking solutions for network operators and consumers alike.

Platform Equinix helps get the best out of Nokia Core SaaS

Nokia Core SaaS is designed to cater to the dynamic and diverse needs of its customers. It allows users to strategically position edge UPF instances, and addresses a plethora of requirements by leveraging these key benefits of Platform Equinix®, our global digital infrastructure platform:

  • End-user locations: The Nokia solution ensures optimal connectivity for end users, regardless of their geographical location, thanks to the extensive Equinix interconnection ecosystem.
  • Internet peering points: By strategically locating UPF instances at internet peering points, Nokia Core SaaS streamlines the exchange of data between networks, resulting in swifter and more dependable internet connectivity that benefits both consumers and businesses.
    • Bilateral peering and private connectivity: By placing their UPFs at strategic locations where service providers have a presence, mobile network operators can access private connectivity and bypass the unreliable public internet. This enables them to offer differentiated, high-performance services.
  • Application placement: Recognizing that various applications demand distinct network resources and performance, the Nokia solution intelligently positions UPF instances to optimize the performance of diverse applications such as streaming video, online gaming or critical business applications.
  • Low latency: The Nokia solution can meet the critical need for low latency in applications such as real-time video conferencing and autonomous vehicles. It allows users to strategically locate UPF instances to reduce delays and improve the user experience.

By embracing these capabilities, Nokia Core SaaS helps unlock the full value of 5G, offering a dynamic and adaptable network infrastructure that caters to the multifaceted connectivity requirements of end users, applications and businesses. This level of flexibility and optimization opens a universe of possibilities for network operators and their valued customers.

The partnership between Nokia and Equinix is paving the way for operators to confidently deploy cloud-native 5G core network functions at the edge. This transformative approach removes the need for substantial upfront capital investments, thus simplifying the 5G journey and creating new opportunities to better serve both businesses and consumers.

To learn more about how Equinix Metal provides cloud-like infrastructure flexibility to support leading partners such as Nokia, visit us today.

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