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Phil Twist is Vice President for Networks Portfolio Marketing at Nokia and is speaking at Telco Cloud Forum about “Cloud RAN – the next step towards 5G” at 15:30 on 28th April at Radisson Blu Portman in London. In this presentation Phil will talk about how the Cloud RAN architecture will be one of the foundations for the development of the 5G networks. Phil will also share some results of Nokia’s latest activities in the Cloud RAN domain.

 

The Interview…

What is the latest telco cloud project you are working on? 

There is for sure a lot going on right now but I would like to highlight the work he have been doing to make Cloud RAN a viable option for the future and one of the foundations for 5G. As we all know so far the discussion on Telco Cloud has been heavily centered on Core, which is natural due to the immediate gains we can achieve in this domain. However, we cannot lose sight of the additional flexibility and even potential savings that can be achieved when we start to move part of the radio baseband processing into the cloud as well. At Nokia we came up with a layered architecture for Cloud RAN that allows us to reutilize the existing radio network resources, by “cloudifying” then, and also build additional baseband processing capacity on top of a data center infrastructure. With this we can guarantee that processing capacity will always be available wherever it is needed, following the traffic demand. I will be talking about this on my presentation at the event. Of course this is for now an architecture proposal, but the success we have been obtaining in our PoCs with some of our customers are an assurance that sooner than later this concept will turn into a reality in operator’s networks. 

What telcos need to work on to provide best-in-class cloud? 

It is important to keep in mind that while we are focusing on bringing to the telco market the advancements that the IT world achieved with cloud computing, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the requirements are different and much more stringent for telcos. Thus it is important that we bridge this existing gap between what the IT cloud can offer and the requirements of the telco world via more efficient solutions and a network architecture that supports these requirements. Two examples to illustrate this point, most traditional telco applications are extremely latency-sensitive and very data intensive. If we implement a very centralized telco cloud architecture, following the IT cloud concept, we will end up with higher latencies than acceptable and a huge load on the operator backhaul. This means a lot of costs due to all this traffic flowing on the network and even potential technical problems due to latency levels higher than required. To avoid these problems, and others, the telco cloud architecture will have to be much more distributed than a traditional IT cloud. So, instead of a few huge data centers, operators will require more data centers of potentially smaller sizes.

This is just an example of how the requirements are different, and I believe that telcos have to keep in mind that the telco cloud will not be a verbatim copy of the IT clouds. It will require some specific characteristics and the whole industry has to be ready to fulfill those requirements.

What do you think is going to be the next big ‘thing’ in the telco cloud market? 

It seems that 2015 will be the year of Cloud Management. So far the industry has focused on bringing VNFs to the market and we can say that we have achieved a significant degree of success on this. Now it is time to jump from virtualization discussions into more comprehensive Cloud implementations, which necessarily include a wider utilization of Cloud management solutions. So, we will see more launches and implementation cases covering VNF Managers, Orchestrators and even hybrid OSS systems, which are important to guarantee a holistic view of the networks that will combine traditional and cloud elements and ensure ‘telco-grade’ availability and performance.

What is your favourite book or film about the future of technologies?

I don’t have a favourite book – I prefer to see the crowd-source future of technology as it appears in the internet far faster than a snapshot in time captured in a book…

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Phil Twist will be speaking at Telco Cloud Forum about “Cloud RAN – the next step towards 5G” at 15:30 on 28th April at Radisson Blu Portman in London.

 

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