Expect to hear a lot more about 5G at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress than at past events. “The intensity of the dialogue over what is 5G and what ingredients are going to make 5G is building,” said Manish Singh, vice president of product management for SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) at Tech Mahindra. “There is a consensus that virtualization and network slicing are going to be key pillars to 5G.”
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)’s Prodip Sen, CTO of NFV and a former Verizon executive, will be discussing the telco cloud’s role in 5G during one session. Sen will likely talk about how 5G is an enabler of mobile edge computing (MEC) because the architecture will support MEC and because all the data enabled by high speed broadband will require lots of computing power.
Network slicing will also likely be a panel topic, as mobile operators will need to use slicing as a way to accommodate different 5G use cases. One big motivator for network slicing is the Internet of Things (IoT), because IoT enables a lot of different types of connections, and those connections are going to need performance guarantees as well as security. Network slicing makes that possible.
But that means that network operators will have to be able to orchestrate certain capabilities across different points of the network – which can be a challenge with today’s network architecture.
Look for Nokia’s Paolo Di Prisco, head of microwave product strategy, who will be talking about how microwave transport can help make network slicing possible. In addition, Chinese vendor Huawei and Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo are expected to be talking about the benefits of network slicing as a key enabler to 5G.