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AWS cloud to support standalone 5G in New Zealand

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New Zealand operator Spark is testing a cloud-based 5G network with the aid of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Mavenir.

The aim is to run two proof-of-concepts for standalone 5G with the two companies, as well as Nokia for cell site infrastructure and Oppo, for 5G devices.

Mavenir will supply its 5G standalone cloud-native core solution and AWS its multi access edge computing and 5G optimised cloud solutions, said Spark.

Josh Bahlman, Spark’s tribe lead (sic) for telco cloud, said: “These proof-of-concepts create line of sight for us to deliver the enhanced benefits of standalone 5G – both to New Zealand businesses looking to innovate using 5G connectivity and multi access edge compute, and to New Zealanders accessing a network that supports applications such as instant video streaming, cloud hosted gaming and the reaction times required for driverless vehicles.”

Spark pointed out that most telcos are implementing non-standalone 5G – meaning that, while networks have been updated to 5G, data centres and network cores are still running on legacy, non-5G systems, which are dependent on 4G infrastructure.

“To achieve standalone 5G, data centres and core mobile networks need to be upgraded and deployed on a cloud-native platform. Existing mobile networks run out of a centralised data centre have relatively static use-cases and are complex to customise,” said Spark.

A 5G standalone network is cloud native, the company added, “meaning that it is fully virtualised, can run on any cloud service, is designed with a microservices approach and architected to address evolving customer needs in a scalable way, while also offering inherent resilience”.

Bahlman said: “The 5G standalone network opens the door on capacity and low latency to help accelerate IoT trends, such as connected cars, smart cities and IoT in the home and office.”

He added: “The solutions offered by AWS and Mavenir provide an opportunity to test and learn by leveraging cloud-native solutions and multi access edge compute services optimised for 5G. Testing the technology in this way allows us to identify the optimal combination of vendors and solutions to deliver the benefits we want to achieve. We have further proof-of-concepts underway as we work to bring relevant use cases specific to New Zealand’s local requirements.”

Spark has deployed a Mavenir 5G standalone cloud-native core solution on AWS’s Snowball Edge, a physically rugged device that provides edge computing and data transfer services.

AWS New Zealand country manager for the commercial sector, Tiffany Bloomquist, said: “It’s exciting to see Spark leverage AWS to experiment and drive innovation across its network for its customers. AWS continues to invest in edge computing capabilities, and we are excited to collaborate with Mavenir, and Spark to advance their 5G standalone network, and identify more use cases and opportunities to deliver leading mobile edge solutions for customers in New Zealand.”

This is Mavenir’s first global edge deployment on Snowball Edge, and using such a device “allowed Spark to create a highly portable edge solution that could literally fit into a suitcase – to process and store data close to where it’s generated, enabling low latency and real time responsiveness”, said Spark.

The company said: “This is the first New Zealand mobile network deployment on AWS Outposts. Testing a wireless broadband service on this proof of concept showed faster download speeds and reduced latency when compared to pre-deployment results, providing a better experience for Spark’s wireless broadband customers.”

Mavenir’s president of core networks, Ashok Khuntia, said: “Our cloud-based network solution offers flexibility and advanced capabilities such as network slicing to enable efficiencies in overall service design and deployment times to accelerate trials and service rollouts.”

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