The in-depth applications of cloud computing, big data, AI (artificial intelligence), and DevOps has greatly promoted the ICT convergence and transformation of operators and enterprises. The high speed, massive connection, low power consumption and low latency of the 5G network will further help operators to create a customized, intelligent, automated and open ecological network centered on customer experience. Internet of Everything (IoE), industrial automation, autonomous driving and other service modes created by 5G will change the society. The 5G network is no longer applied to the purely high-bandwidth for "human" experience, but focuses on everything and provides on-demand network capabilities.
In the foreseeable future ten years, people's thinking and social concepts will change due to 5G influence. As the provider of 5G network services, operators face enormous challenges from network deployment and operation. The new 5G core network needs to be able to simplify and enable all industries. As one of mainstream telecom suppliers, ZTE, depending on its deep understanding on network design, construction and operation, proposes the future-oriented next-gen Common Core solution which features ultra simplification, intelligence and hyper-wide convergence.
Convergence achieves simplified deployment
The target of convergence architecture is to unify the infrastructure, to integrate network functions (NF), and to distribute and explore deployment policies on demand.
For infrastructure convergence, ZTE Common Core uses NFV/SDN technology, leverages common hardware and white box, and adopts hyper-convergence of computing and storage as well as lightweight OpenStack. Such a lightweight infrastructure solution brings higher efficiency and makes telecom network becoming more simple on physical entity.
In the 5G era, data traffic will be offloaded or processed at local access site, so there are lots of region and edge data centers (DC) in the 5G field. The distributed telecom cloud solution contained in Common Core supports to manage common hardware. It provides VM, container and bare metal services for all kinds of 5G NFs and application, and supports to carry out centralized management for distributed infrastructure.
For NF integration, Common Core provides 2G/3G/4G/5G/Fixed full access capabilities through the design of converged user data, converged policy, converged control and converged forwarding plane, to serve operators with multiple access networks co-existing. It simplifies network topology and reduces cross-NF interoperation and signaling interaction, so as to greatly improve the KPI of network after convergence. Common Core is Cloud Natvie based, and it achieves cross-network sharing of functional components through microservice and SBA+ technologies, to reduce the internal complexity of 5G Core, and refine the daily maintain granularity.
For deployment policy, Common Core shows excellent flexibility. For 5G NF, Common Core provides R15 NSA/SA dual-stack capability and is R16 oriented. Operators can freely deploy SA, NSA or SA&NSA dual-mode network as needed, to reuse resources and achieve 5G target network architecture by one step, avoiding repeated network upgrading and transformation, and greatly saving investment cost.
Intelligent promotes multilevel development
ZTE Common Core is integrated with the CloudStudio intelligent O&M solution which is based on AI technology and microservice architecture. It achieves automatic design, automatic deployment, automatic provisioning, automatic test, automatic polling, automatic watch, gray upgrade and other capabilities, helping to build a new 5G network from center to edge, from underlying hardware to orchestration management, from NF to service.
With the introduction of AI-based closed-loop network self-healing and self-optimization, the CloudStudio solution carries out real-time monitoring on network status, root cause analysis (RCA) of faults, intelligent resource scheduling, and dynamic network topology adjustment, to achieving self-management, self-organization, self-optimization, and self-recovery. It helps telecom operators build intelligent networks, and improves efficiency by over two times through simplified network O&M.
Through the combination of 5G and AI technology, ZTE Common Core achieves intelligent business slicing, intelligent O&M and intelligent network resources. It also provides horizontal and vertical end-to-end intelligent optimization across NFs and across domains, to comprehensively improve the intelligence level of 5G network. ZTE’s advanced intelligent RCA system is embedded with AI engine. It establishes alarm correlation rules through machine learning and continuously enriches the troubleshooting rule repository, to reduce manual O&M cost by 75%.
Broadband provides rich network capabilities
Common Core has stronger capability, meeting all kinds of 5G scenarios. Slicing is to provide dedicated network for different scenario by virtualizing one network into N networks, so as to provide services for N vertical customers. This technology saves construction and O&M costs, reduces application trial and error costs, and improves onboarding speed.
In the 4G network, operators leverage CUPS to achieve centralized control plane and distributed forwarding plane, so as to offload data traffic by working with the network architecture of center + region + edge. In the 5G era, due to the growth of applications requiring high reliability (99.999%) and ultra-low latency (<1ms) such as autonomous driving and industrial automation, data traffic will increase exponentially, and the media plane needs to move to the edge or region DC. Existing CUPS solutions and CPU-based software-only acceleration solutions are difficult to meet such requirements of ultra-high bandwidth and ultra-low latency. Therefore, ZTE Common Core provides FPGA SmartNIC hardware acceleration solution. The VNF (UPF/GW-U) performs first packet learning/generating forwarding flow table/delivering forwarding flow table to the SmartNIC, and then the SmartNIC receives and directly processes subsequent media packets, which greatly reduces the occupation of CPU resources, significantly improves performance and reduces latency. Compared with software acceleration solutions, the SmartNIC hardware acceleration solution can reduce the forwarding latency by 90%, increase throughput by 200%, and reduce power consumption by 55%. It can better satisfy special requirements of URLLC and eMBB for forwarding capabilities of the edge DC, fully matching 5G eMBB and URLLC scenarios.
ZTE Common Core is design on the concept of “Simple + Intelligent + Wide”. In combination of scenarios in early stage of 5G commercialization, it users SBA, microservice components, lightweight container, stateless design and other new 5G technologies, to achieve the convergence of database, policy, control plane and forwarding plane on the NF layer. It supports full access of 2G/3G/4G/5G/Fixed, and proposes the evolution policy of one-step network architecture and staged NF deployment, to build a simplified basic network. It simplifies the deployment and interoperation of 5G Core, to help operators win the double lead of technology and time in the 5G construction tide, to pave the way for 5G evolution, and to enable operators enjoying the bonus brought by new 5G technologies in advance.
ZTE is fully prepared for the end-to-end commercialization of 5G. ZTE 5G Core is rated as Established Player by GlobalData in it 5G report. In OVUM’s report, ZTE is considered as one of leading 5G Core vendors. As of now, ZTE NFV has been implemented in more than 420 commercial and trial projects worldwide. ZTE is working with over 40 global operators in 5G cooperation, to jointly promote the development of 5G technology and standard, and accelerate the commercialization progress of 5G.