Dialogic Blog

5G and NFV – Part 1: Rethinking the Mobile Infrastructure

by Chet Berry

Jun 29, 2015 1:51:00 PM

5G and NFV – Part 1: Rethinking the Mobile Infrastructure

Just as early pioneers of the western frontier forged through uncertain peril in uncharted lands to discover new territories, the fifth generation (5G) mobile communication network architecture and supportive facilities will introduce new technologies, business models and services that will change the modern day way of life. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) will play vital roles in facilitating the Communication Service Provider’s (CSP) transition from legacy 2G, 3G and 4G mobile network technologies to 5G because of the innate and fundamental benefits they offer compared to the classical architectural approaches of the past.

These benefits include:

  • Strategic reduction in CAPEX , OPEX
  • Network service agility (i.e. faster time-to-market and monetization of new services)
  • Tactical dynamic scalability, high availability, and redundancy

These are a confirmation of the conjugal relationship between the two technologies and how actualization of the next mobile frontier will depend on NFV and SDN and other supporting 5G technologies.

5G requires re-thinking from previous mobile network technologies

To provide an infrastructure for the new services and applications envisioned for 5G, it is generally understood by leading technologists that the existing mobile network infrastructure will have to drastically change. 5G will require a “rethinking” of the existing infrastructure networks and possibly need a complete overhaul. The traditional migration model used when transitioning from 2nd , 3rd and 4thgeneration mobile technology is not sustainable for the new business models foreseen in 5G. These new models will ultimately result in major upturn in device capacity, traffic volume and response time demands.

5G User and Network Driven Requirements

Source: 4G Americas' Recommendations on 5G Requirements and Solutions


The criteria envisioned for 5G as outlined in GSMA’s “Understanding 5G: Perspectives on future technological advances in mobile” are substantial:

  • 1000 x more connected devices
  • 30 x higher smart-phone density (up to 12,000 devices per km^2)
  • 1ms or less RTT latency
  • 100 x higher average data rate
  • 10000 x mobile data volume

These requirements will require an infrastructure that is highly flexible, dense, fast, accessible, resource efficient and can scale as needed to meet the dynamic needs of the underlying network services. In the next installment of this 4-part blog we’ll outline some of the 5G objectives and challenges that need to be overcome to get there. Let us know what you think about 5G and the implications of the technology. You can tweet us at @Dialogic.

Topics: 3G, 4G, 5G, and WiFi, NFV/SDN & Cloud