Google Cloud and Intel partner for 5G Cloud Native Core & Edge Networking

Google Cloud and Intel plan to collaborate to develop cloud-native 5G core, 5G services and edge networking for network operators, enterprises, and the growing pool of vendors involved in mobile networks.

The partnership spans three main areas focused on:

  • Accelerating the ability of communications service providers to deploy their virtualized radio access network (RAN) and open RAN solutions with next-generation infrastructure and hardware.
  • Launching new lab environments to help communications service providers innovate for cloud native-based 5G networks.
  • Making it easier for communications service providers to deliver business applications to the network edge.

“The next wave of network transformation is fueled by 5G and is driving a rapid transition to cloud native technologies,” said Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Network Platforms Group, in a press release. “As communications service providers build out their cloud infrastructure, our efforts with Google Cloud and the broader ecosystem will help them deliver agile, scalable solutions for emerging 5G and edge use cases.”

The partnership’s cloud native 5G objectives will be “across the telecommunications stack, with application providers, carriers and communications service providers, hardware providers, and global telecoms,” according to the press release, to decrease the cost and time-to-market needed for the telecommunications industry.


Last March, Google Cloud announced a telecommunications industry strategy that focused on cloud capabilities with 5G connectivity and this builds upon that plan.

Google Cloud recently announced an initiative to deliver 200+ partner applications to the edge via Google Cloud’s network and 5G.


Partnerships like this one will be increasingly necessary to build 5G cloud native core networks and services (like network slicing), because there are no implementation specific standards (more below).

Ericsson wrote in a blog post:

“Of course, the implementation of a fully cloud native network will take considerable time and the new and legacy infrastructure will have to co-exist in a hybrid mode to begin with. Nevertheless, depending on your market requirements, it is important to start the journey towards a cloud native 5G Core now and focus future investments in accordance with the new target architecture. This is also the reason why we have re-designed our EPC software to also be cloud native and created a solution we call the Ericsson dual-mode 5G Core.”

“The new 5GC will live together with EPC for a considerable time and it’s important to define an evolution path that is smooth and cost efficient, while still supporting your business strategy and ambitions. We have developed a solution we call dual-mode 5G Core, where 5GC and EPC live together under one common O&M system for efficient TCO. This enables a smooth migration at your own pace and in accordance with your business needs.”

Images Courtesy of Ericsson


3GPP High Level Specs on 5G Network Architecture/5G Core:

The high level 3GPP technical specs for 5G Core (5GC) call for a service based architecture (SBA), which is designed for cloud native deployment.

These three 3GPP Technical Specs (TS’s) are the basis for 5G core networks, but they do not specify implementation details:

  • 23.501 System architecture for the 5G System (5GS)
  • 23.502 Procedures for the 5G System (5GS)
  • 23.503 Policy and charging control framework for the 5G System (5GS); Stage 2

The ETSI standard is a transliteration of 3GPP TS 23.501:

From section 4.2.1:

“The 5G architecture is defined as service-based and the interaction between network functions is represented in two ways.

– A service-based representation, where network functions (e.g. AMF) within the Control Plane enables other authorized network functions to access their services.  This representation also includes point-to-point reference points where necessary.

– A reference point representation, shows the interaction exist between the NF services in the network functions described by point-to-point reference point (e.g. N11) between any two network functions (e.g. AMF and SMF).

Service-based interfaces are listed in clause 4.2.6.

Reference points are listed in clause 4.2.7.

Network functions within the 5GC Control Plane shall only use service-based interfaces for their interactions.”



More information on use cases and the full news release can be found on Google’s website.

More Context: 5G & Wireless Communications at Intel

Intel Partner Stories: Intel Customer Spotlight on | Partner Stories on Intel Newsroom


Intel, Google Cloud Aim to Advance 5G Networks, Edge Innovations

3 thoughts on “Google Cloud and Intel partner for 5G Cloud Native Core & Edge Networking

  1. “NESaaS is the glue that unites the key security control points: applications, identities, endpoints, and data,” said Christopher Rodriguez, research director, Network Security Products and Strategies program at IDC. “The key differentiation is that while SASE is network and security as a single as-a-service offering, NESaaS offers a modular ecosystem of SaaS security.”

  2. “The goal here is to work with the carriers,” explained Sunay Tripathi, Google’s new director and head of products for telecom and the “distributed cloud edge.”

    Tripathi, who spoke at a 5G Future Forum event here, typified the new trend: He cut his teeth at Sun Microsystems before helping to found software-defined networking company Pluribus Networks. For the past three years, he was the CTO of Deutsche Telekom’s MobiledgeX. According to his LinkedIn profile, he joined Google in July. “We are rearchitecting a lot of the underlying network, and that creates a lot of opportunity,” Tripathi explained.

    Google, Microsoft and Amazon have long played in the telecom industry as software, IT and cloud suppliers. And like most modern enterprises across all industries, mobile network operators have increasingly pushed their IT operations into the public cloud.

    But during the past two years, Google, Microsoft and Amazon have all begun developing cloud computing products specifically designed to host wireless providers’ network functions. Whether it’s Microsoft’s Azure for Operators or Google’s Anthos for Telecom, it’s intended to get network operators to put their crown jewels – their core network functions – into a hyperscale cloud.

    And it’s something all three cloud companies are serious about, judging from their telecom hiring sprees or their acquisitions in the space. Microsoft, for example, last year spent an estimated $1.8 billion buying longtime telecom vendors Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch Networks.

    New ideas and new disruption

    According to analysts, the entry of the public cloud hyperscalers represents a major new strategic turn in the industry, considering network operators have historically retained tight control over their networking systems. And though most have been moving toward cloud technologies they own and operate, few have agreed to run their networking software in a public cloud operated by a hyperscaler.

    “In outsourcing the infrastructure to cloud providers, telcos risk losing control of different aspects of their network and technology roadmap over the long term,” warned analyst Frank Rayal of Xona Partners in a post to his website titled “How telcos outsourced their brains.”

    Nonetheless, there are increasing indications that operators around the world are more than open to the idea. “The technologies that we will build [with the cloud] will let others consume our network,” explained Luciano Ramos, SVP of network development, planning and engineering for Rogers Comunications in Canada.

    Indeed, AT&T recently announced it would transition its 5G core network operations into Microsoft’s cloud over the next three years. And Dish Network plans to run all of its network operations in the Amazon Web Services cloud.

    According to Rakuten’s outspoken mobile chief, Tareq Amin, it’s ultimately necessary. He said he designed Rakuten’s mobile network in Japan to natively run in the cloud, and that it required a major shift in his team’s thinking. “I wanted to pick the right mentality” when staffing up Rakuten Mobile, he said. “It was easier to deploy cloud because the Rakuten people wanted to be open to new ideas,” he said. “They were open to new ideas and new disruption.”

    Amin made his comments during a keynote address at the MWC LA show here. He made sure to point out that Rakuten Mobile in Japan now counts around 5 million customers, and boasts leading network metrics. It was essentially Amin’s victory lap after announcing his plan to build such a network just a few years ago, at the MWC Barcelona show in 2019.

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