O2 Telefonica develops Dual Mode core on AWS – The Mobile Network

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O2 Telefonica Germany is adding 4G capabilities to its newly-launched 5G Cloud Core, developing a Dual Mode core capability on AWS infrastructure that it says will give it a more elastic and automated network infrasrtucture.

The companies revealed in May that the carrier has moved its 5G SA core network functions onto AWS cloud technology. Describing this as a new 5G cloud core, O2 Telefonica said it was “moving away from traditional architectures and instead focusing on modern, high-performance, and efficient network technologies”.

The 5G Cloud Core has in fact been live since MWC 2024, and now O2 Telefonica is currently adding 4G components.

Bas Hendrikx, Head of Cloud Center of Excellence, o2 Telefónica, told TMN, Selected customers will be migrated soon to the 5G Dual core network.”

“Together with its partners, O2 Telefónica is gaining important experience and is pursuing the goal of moving further functions to the cloud in order to benefit from the advantages of cloud-based architectures, elasticity & automation frameworks.”

“In the first deployment step, customers can use the new 5G Cloud Core if they are subscribed to O2 Telefónica’s 5G Standalone network. This is dependent on different aspects including location, coverage, device capabilities. Subsequently, also 4G subscribers will use the Cloud Core later on this year,” he added.

They companies involved have claimed this is the first time a brownfield operator has moved its core to the public cloud.

An AWS spokesperson told TMN, “Nokia 5G core software is running on AWS’ cloud architecture including AWS Region and Availability Zones.”

“AWS services used by O2 Telefónica in this architecture include Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) for the orchestration of containerised cloud native Network Functions (NFs) from Nokia, backed by Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) for different types of workloads ranging from compute-intensive to throughput-intensive in AWS Regions and AWS Outposts.”

This architecture is designed to support the “stringent service resilient needs of a commercial telecom system. For example, during any planned or unplanned event, traffic is automatically routed to other servers to achieve full service resilience.”

Operating your own cloud would require enormous investments and tie up resources in terms of maintenance, monitoring, optimisation

Hendricks said that the 5G Cloud Core represents a milestone in the network transformation towards a modern, cloud-based and automated network architecture. It is also more cost and resource-efficient, he said. Telcos have been through a number of iterations as they moved from Network Functions Virtualisation to Cloud-Native operations, assessing the right way to build, deliver and manage the cloud infrastructure that would underpin that transformation. To what extent they could or should leverage public cloud capabilities has been an open question, but Hendricks is convinced this is the right time to make that move. Certain functions will stay in the operator’s own private cloud, however.

“Operating your own cloud would require enormous investments and tie up resources in terms of maintenance, monitoring, optimisation, and expansion,” he said. “We therefore consider the move to the public cloud to be the right one for the 5G Cloud Core. However, we also see the advantages of a private cloud for other network functions such as Subscriber Data Management (SDM), the 5G user database, which is why we are relying on a hybrid cloud model for our overarching cloud transformation for networks and IT.”

Nokia said that it had not had to carry out any new work to enable its core network functions to operate in the AWS environment. It said 5G Core’s network functions were designed and built to be cloud-native; meaning, for example, functions that have stateless micro-services; multi-tenancy within the same container cluster; ensure reliability and scalability, and enable enhanced portability across various cloud platforms; and provide well-defined lifecycle management policies, continuous integration and continuous delivery, and automation.

“Our CSP customers deploy and move our 5G SA Core across various cloud platforms, like AWS; Nokia Cloud Platform (NCP, underlying Red Hat OpenShift), VMware, Google, and Microsoft. As a result, there is no extra work or software change required in our core network functions to operate in the AWS environment.”

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