Communications service providers (CSPs) must ensure they have the right foundations and transport in place to take full advantage of 5G.
This is the view of Mark Baptiste, director of Nokia’s IP and optical business for Africa.
“There are so many moving parts at the moment,” said Baptiste.
“You have your transport or the mechanism to carry your traffic which includes Optics, IP and Microwave on the one side, but then we have things like virtualisation, public and private cloud, automation, software-defined networking (SDN) and security that are also fundamental to network operations.”
“That is why it is not only critical to get the transport right at the outset, but also to build it so that it can deliver today, while also catering for the requirements of the future.”
CSPs have massive investments that they have made over the past 20 years which they cannot simply switch off.
Baptiste believes this is where transport becomes so important.
“From a transport perspective, we do not distinguish between the existing and the future. What we are saying is that we must build networks that can operate securely, handle massive scale, and provide seriously high performance,” said Baptiste.
“The biggest challenge for CSPs is balancing the present while investing in the future. We all know that 2G and 3G will be around in Africa for a long time. For operators in Africa, it is about striking that balance between keeping existing customers happy, while looking at the business case for 5G, because everyone wants to be the first to make it a reality.”
Time to strategise
Baptiste said the most important thing for CSPs right now is to get a strategic blueprint in place that determines how they evolve their network to cater for the requirements of 5G.
“Nokia is strategically positioned to work with CSPs to build this end-to-end architecture where we would look at each of these elements holistically, and then we would strip them down in isolation to determine how we build each of these elements to meet their specific requirements,” said Baptiste.
“Then we would put it all together again in terms of a blueprint that provides the CSP with the Future X solutions Nokia always talks about.”
Nokia has recently revolutionised data centre networking by launching its new data centre switching fabric.
This provides generational steps in data centre networking, new operating systems, and tools, and gives cloud builders unprecedented ability to adapt, automate and scale according to 5G demands.
Baptiste said that CSPs must focus on getting the basic building blocks of their transport platforms right early on.
“If you have an under-dimensioned transport platform, it does not matter what you build – it will have a serious impact on your ability to deliver at scale on the rapidly evolving requirements of networking.”
“So, the key thing is to build that transport platform that can address security, massive scale, high performance and gives you all the automation and end-to-end requirements that you need,” said Baptiste.
“Nokia is proud to be a partner of Telkom in South Africa and, together, we look forward to building next generation transport networks, which are the bedrock for enabling digital services for consumers, enterprises and the public sector in South Africa.”
This article was published in partnership with Nokia.