China Unicom and Nokia to deploy cloud-native core network
05 February 2018 | Natalie Bannerman
Nokia and China Unicom have partnered together to roll-out a cloud-native core network in seven Chinese provinces.
The new network will use Nokia’s AirGile technology, providing the agility required for the delivery of high-quality voice services, and to lay the foundations for the future evolution to 5G.
Speaking on the collaboration, Gao Bo, head of China Unicom’s customer business team at Nokia Shanghai Bell, said: "Nokia has the breadth of technology and services expertise to provide an end-to-end cloud native core for China Unicom. The network will deliver new capabilities and allow China Unicom to accelerate the launch of new services, while new agility will help enable a smooth transition toward 5G in the future."
In addition, this new cloud-native network will enable China Unicom to offer voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and voice-over-Wifi (VoWiFi) services from a single platform, as well as new services such as 'one-number, multi-devices'. Through this, China Unicom customers will receive high definition voice calling, faster call set-up, calls on multiple connected devices and seamless connectivity as they move between China Unicom's 4G network and Wifi access points.
The seven Chinese provinces included in the rollout are: Sichuan, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Hainan, Yunnan, Gansu and Hunan.
In addition to the aforementioned AirGile technology, the network will also leverage Nokia’s AirFrame data center, NetAct, CloudBand and Session Border Controller. Nokia will also act as the product and systems integrator for the project.
As for laying the foundations for 5G, the new network will give China Unicom the flexibility, responsiveness and adaptability needed to deliver the high-performance, ultra-reliability and low latency-required by massive IoT and 5G.
The two are said to have been testing interoperability with other vendors' equipment since 2017, enabling China Unicom to be the first operator to deploy a three-layer decoupled network architecture using network functions virtualization to decouple hardware and software to ensure flexibility allowing each network layer to evolve independently.
In April of last year, the two parties conducted a live trial on Nokia’s virtualised service router (VSR) in an attempt to enhance broadband services. The initial trial took place in in the province of Shandong and is set to spread to other parts of China over the next two years.
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