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As the buzz around 5G continues to intensify, so too does the burden on service providers to articulate a clear strategy for monetizing the infrastructure investment they'll need to deploy such networks. 

The promise of 5G is expected to transform industries ranging from streaming entertainment and gaming to healthcare and agriculture. In fact, it's safe to say the use cases that will make the most massive impact have yet to be imagined.

Whatever shape the 5G world takes, service providers know one thing for certain: The opportunity is seemingly limitless – if they have the right technology resources and strategy in place

Service providers must set their plans in motion now if they are to succeed moving forward — modernizing, virtualizing and automating critical network components to support the rush of traffic that is expected with 5G.

Introducing a flexible solution for the edge: vBNG

The 5G technologies that prevail will be the ones that do the best job of reducing latency while maximizing throughput. One of those technologies we believe will be vital to service providers' ability to roll out 5G networks at scale is the virtual Broadband Network Gateway (vBNG), which we've developed in partnership with Intel as part of its Intel Select Solutions portfolio.

WWT's vBNG solution is built on top of the latest release of the 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors , chosen to address critical data-heavy, high-performance computing to fuel 5G-ready networks and next-gen virtual networks. This integrated, ready-to-deploy hardware and software package is as an affordable, flexible and reliable solution that can break out to edge-hosted services and aggregate ultra-broadband and internet-based video traffic.

Today's vBNG technology is a logical first step for modernizing network architectures to next-generation capabilities to help service providers truly leverage edge computing more quickly and cost-effectively, enabling them to realize greater revenue. 

Scalability to match a growing subscriber base

Network traffic grows each and every year, a trend that is expected to only accelerate with the broader adoption of 5G. This burgeoning demand is fueled by the proliferation of connected devices, cloud computing and video streaming.

Hardware-based broadband network gateways are not built for this demand and lack scalability, making them impractical for supporting explosive network and subscriber growth.

vBNG also is an important element in the Next Generation Central Office (NGCO), which can maximize edge computing. NGCO fully supports a converged fixed and mobile network by implementing network functions in a more software-centric way, allowing service providers to deploy new and more flexible services. It is intended to function as a local edge data center with a smaller area and power footprint than the traditional centralized data center.

vBNG can help service providers deploy new capabilities quickly and affordably, thus realizing greater revenue while simplifying network design. 

For example, service providers may start with a single virtual machine receiving traffic from endpoint devices, but as that VM reaches its threshold, service providers can simply spin up another VM in much less time than it would take to have a hardware device delivered and deployed. With vBNG, they can add more users more easily.

What vBNG brings to 5G-ready network modernization

By integrating a vBNG solution, service providers can enjoy an array of advantages, including: 

  • Flexibility and scalability that enable service providers to expand easily from a few users to as many as 256,000 users when needed, making it easier to accommodate a rush of sudden subscriber density.
  • Verified throughput that enables vBNGs equipped with Intel Network Interface Cards (NIC) to accommodate up to 256,000 broadband users – performance results that are verified in WWT's Advanced Technology Center.
  • Cost efficiencies gained by employing inexpensive white-box servers.
  • Reduced footprint compared to hardware-based alternatives, with simplified network design choices. As needs increase, more virtual gateways can be easily spun up.
  • Greater manageability, thanks to virtualization.
  • NGCO-readiness as part of a suite of new telecommunications capabilities that enable service providers to reduce costs and protect service providers' infrastructure investments.

WWT's NGCO solution features a vBNG offering from technology partner netElastic, chosen for its high throughput and scalability to support multi-terabit services

In addition to leveraging Intel technologies, the netElastic vBNG solution also incorporates technologies from Advantech, Red Hat, Silicom and Spirent. The netElastic vBNG solution is proven to be an ideal performer in highly concentrated network environments.

The message is clear: Invest now to win later

To thrive moving forward, service providers must clearly define a path to monetize their network infrastructure investment. So far, edge computing and the next-generation services that will be delivered there appear to be the surest route to take. 

But, success hinges on laying the groundwork now, investing in modernizing your network through NFV and the underlying NGCO technologies it'll run on.

A critical element to those solutions will be edge applications like vBNG situated near endpoints to reduce latency and enable advancements from autonomous vehicles to computer vision and smart everything.

WWT invites you to experience vBNG's advantages first-hand by visiting our ATC — affectionately known as Silicon Valley in St. Louis — where you can see this virtual gateway solution in action, and learn from experts how it might fit into your 5G strategy.

Intel, the Intel logo and Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries.