T-Mobile and Cisco launch cloud native 5G core gateway
T-Mobile US announced today that it has collaborated with Cisco to launch a first-of-its kind cloud native 5G core gateway. T-Mobile has moved all of its 5G and 4G traffic to the new cloud native converged core which provides customers with more than a 10% improvement in speeds and lower latency. The new core gateway also allows T-Mobile to more quickly and easily test and deliver new 5G and IoT services, like network slicing and Voice over 5G (VoNR) thereby expediting time to market.
The T-Mobile US 5G SA core is based on Cisco’s cloud-native control plane that uses Kubernetes to orchestrate containers running on bare metal. The companies said this frees up more than 20% of the CPU cores.
It also uses Cisco’s 8000 Series routers, 5G and 4G LTE packet core gateways, its Unified Computing System (UCS) platform, and Cisco’s Nexus 9000 Series Switches that run the vendor’s Network Services Orchestrator for full-stack automation.
“T-Mobile customers already have access to the largest, most powerful 5G network in the country, and we’re innovating every day to supercharge their experience even further,” said Delan Beah, Senior Vice President of Core Network and Services Engineering at T-Mobile. “This cloud native core gateway takes our network to new heights, allowing us to push 5G forward by delivering next-level performance for consumers and businesses nationwide while setting the stage for new applications enabled by next-gen networks.”
With a fully automated converged core gateway, T-Mobile can simplify network functions across the cloud, edge and data centers to significantly reduce operational life cycle management. The increased efficiency is an immediate benefit for customers, providing them with even faster speeds. The new core is also more distributed than ever before, leading to lower latency and advancing capabilities like edge computing.
“Our strategic relationship with T-Mobile is rooted in co-innovation, with a shared vision to establish best practices for 5G and the Internet for the Future,” said Masum Mir, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Networking Provider Mobility. “This is the type of network every operator aspires to. It will support the most advanced 5G applications for consumers and businesses today and enables T-Mobile to test and deliver new and emerging 5G and IoT applications with simplicity at scale.”
The fully automated converged core architecture is based on Cisco’s cloud native control plane, optimized with Kubernetes orchestrated containers on bare metal, freeing up over 20% of the CPU (Central Processing Unit) cores. The converged core solution uses a broad mix of Cisco’s flagship networking solutions including the Cisco 8000 Series routers, 5G and 4G packet core gateways, Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), and Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches with Cisco Network Services Orchestrator for full stack automation.
T-Mobile is the U.S. leader in 5G, delivering the country’s largest, fastest and most reliable 5G network. The Un-carrier’s Extended Range 5G covers 323 million people across 1.9 million square miles – more than AT&T and Verizon combined. 260 million people nationwide are covered by T-Mobile’s super-fast Ultra Capacity 5G, and T-Mobile plans to reach 300 million people with Ultra Capacity next year.
For more information on T-Mobile’s network, visit: https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/4g-lte-5g-networks.
Cisco was part of T-Mobile US’ initial 5G SA core launch in 2020. This included the user plane, session management, and policy control functions. Those network functions run on Cisco servers, switching, and its virtualization orchestration stack.
This 5G work built on Cisco providing its packet gateway for T-Mobile’s 4G LTE mobile core, later adding its evolved packet core (EPC), and eventually virtualized the operator’s entire packet core in 2017. T-Mobile was also the first major operator to introduce Cisco’s 4G control and user plane separation (CUPS) in the EPC at production scale in 2018.
Cisco has also been core to 5G SA work by operators like Dish Network and Rakuten Mobile
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T-Mobile and AWS are working together to pair T-Mobile’s 5G Advanced Network Solutions portfolio with AWS cloud-based services and scalable, pre-integrated applications, so customers can more easily discover, customize and deploy 5G edge compute.
They will also collaborate on customizable, use case specific offerings as part of the new Integrated Private Wireless on AWS program. These offerings help businesses get the performance and applications they need for their unique use cases – for example, monitoring worker safety on remote industrial campuses, performing predictive maintenance on manufacturing equipment, or ensuring faster aircraft turnaround times at the airport.
“T-Mobile and AWS are coming together to do what industry-leading companies do best – make things easier for customers,” said Callie Field, President, T-Mobile Business Group. “Businesses need a combination of connectivity and compute that fits into their current infrastructure. With our flexible 5G network deployment options and AWS’s cloud compute capabilities, we can quickly provide customers a right-sized solution to make their applications – new and existing – perform like never before.”
“AWS and T-Mobile share a common desire to work backwards from customer feedback to deliver innovation,” said Adolfo Hernandez, Vice President, Telco Industry at AWS. “One of the biggest challenges in galvanizing industries and revenue for 5G services has been the lack of flexible 5G solutions that meet the compute and connectivity needs for customers. Together with T-Mobile’s innovative suite of 5G Advanced Network Solutions and our Integrated Private Wireless Program, we have the power to meet customers where they are.”
After years of industry excitement, 5G private network adoption has underwhelmed, but the potential is undeniably huge. The challenge has been the complexity and cost businesses face in unlocking that potential – requiring them to work across multiple vendors for compute, connectivity, applications, integration and more at a time of increased budget pressures. With some connectivity vendors insisting on a costly one-size-fits all approach to private networking – instead of a flexible set of private, hybrid and public networking options – it’s no wonder adoption has been slow to take off.
By working together, T-Mobile and AWS can help customers more easily discover, customize, and deploy 5G edge compute. Current AWS customers or businesses wanting AWS services can use the Integrated Private Wireless on AWS portal to explore customized solutions, browsing by industry or use case. Then they simply choose T-Mobile as their 5G provider. For U.S. businesses new to any advanced network or compute solution, T-Mobile will be able to work with them to set up a 5G public, hybrid or private network that’s already integrated with AWS’s customizable edge infrastructure and services.
For more information on T-Mobile’s 5G Advanced Network Solutions (5G ANS), head to https://www.t-mobile.com/business/solutions/networking/5G-advanced-solutions. Customers can also visit https://aws.amazon.com/telecom/integrated-private-wireless to learn more through the Integrated Private Wireless portal.
Cloud-native 5G networks will hit the mainstream phase
The success of 5G at its core will be determined by the extent to which telecom vendors and their customers can master cloud-native technologies and practices. So far, results have underwhelmed during initial rollouts. The next radical shift in network service delivery architecture and approach — to cloud native and DevOps — is necessary to fully take advantage of 5G capabilities such as slicing and network programmability, which will enter the mainstream in 2023. Cloud-native design and deployment principles bring an optimal mix of application portability, reusability, time to market, automation and scale for the next generation of network operations and monetization. 5G core — and by extension edge — are “killer apps” for cloud native.
Source: S&P Global 2023 Trends in Cloud Native