Not Just Another G: The Next Generation

This is the second installment in our series Not Just Another G, which provides insight into 5G and what it means to the service provider industry. Missed the first post? Catch up here.

The next-generation 5G architecture is built around the realization that different services are consumed differently, and by different types of users. Thus, next-generation mobile access technology must have:

  1. A way to define those differences,
  2. A way to determine and place constraints so as to meet those differences, and
  3. A way to architect access methods that meet the goals of the different services that ride on top of the technology.

It is to this end that the 5G technology has built-in support for what’s called “network slicing” – a fancy phrase to say that the network is sliced up, with each slice configured to meet the needs of a singular class of service.

In the 5G architecture, for example, there is a slice designed to deliver common mobile consumer data. This slice delivers high throughput data consumers want access to, which may be things like pictures, videos, live video interactions, remote mailbox access or remote shared data vault access.

Another slice is designed for what is called “latency critical” applications. Imagine a connected, self-driving, auto-diagnosing car of the future. The car, connected to 5G, will be the “new cell phone”. It will automatically make things happen so that the driver can choose to not be in control and enjoy life or get work done while commuting. This requires a fast, high-speed, reliable, always-available and latency critical network. The 5G latency-aware slice allows a network design that can make these guarantees. By the way, the car is just one of the many such latency-critical applications.

Another slice of the network is designed to meet both the latency, and the capacity needs of the service. Consider the example of TeleHealth, a use-case where in a medical service provider is physically remote from the consumer. Many healthcare situations demand TeleHealth, which has seen only limited realization because a truly mobile, low-latency and capacity-aware network architecture has remained a challenge. All TeleHealth use-cases require:

  1. Interaction with no frame/audio drops,
  2. Atomic guarantees of delivery – if a command was sent, the network must guarantee the delivery of that command and the response back, and
  3. Ubiquity – be a stranded climber on a remote mountain, or an inner-city youth who needs the help of a specialist in Mayo Clinic, the network must always be there to support the service.

This new and innovative world requires a large amount of infrastructure. It requires an increase in cell stations, to which a multitude of end-users will be connected to in order to consume services. It requires compute, storage, and networking capabilities distributed across the edge of the network, enabling a service delivery platform running both network services and 3rd party application workloads. This edge platform coupled with differentiated classes of service provides new ways for Telcos to monetize the infrastructure and charge consumers.

At Dell Technologies, we are focused on creating the best possible infrastructure elements that will help the creation of next-generation mobile access networks. Dell EMC servers are best-in-class and hold the biggest market share. Dell EMC storage is second-to-none, and offers all types and variations as needed to suit the goals of any point of presence in a 5G network. Dell EMC Networking gear brings it all together, in a self-aware, software-defined, declarative manner so that the network can adapt quickly to meet the demands of all the 5G slices.

We are here to help our customers on the Journey to 5G.

Kevin Shatzkamer

About the Author: Kevin Shatzkamer

Kevin Shatzkamer is Vice President and General Manager, Service Provider Strategy and Solutions at Dell Technologies with responsibility for strategy and architectural evolution of the intersection points of network infrastructure technologies, cloud and virtualization platforms, and software programmability. His organizational responsibility encompasses industry strategy and investment analysis, business development and go-to-market activities, technical architecture and engineering, and infrastructure evolution / futures-planning. He is also responsible for leading the Dell Technologies 5G strategy in close collaboration with industry-leading telecommunications providers globally. Mr. Shatzkamer represents Dell Technologies on the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Futures Council on New Network Technologies (5G-related). Mr. Shatzkamer's ecosystem-wide, experience-centric approach to working with customers allows for the identification and exploitation of synergies between disparate organizations to derive new technology / business models for the mobile industry, especially as “5G” defines transformation from technical architecture to ecosystem and service offerings. With over 20 years of industry experience, Mr. Shatzkamer joined Dell EMC in 2016, with prior experience at Brocade (Service Provider CTO, Head of Brocade Labs) and Cisco (Distinguished Systems Engineer). He holds more than 50 patents related to all areas of work. He received a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Florida, a Master’s of Business Administration from Indiana University, and a Master’s of System Design and Management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Shatzkamer is a regular speaker at industry forums and has published two books discussing the architectures and technologies shaping the future of the Mobile Internet (2G, 3G, and 4G networks), from RAN to services.