In addition to NFV and SDN, much of the talk at Mobile World Congress focused on 5G and its ability to provide the low latency and speed needed to power the billions of connected devices in the Internet of Things, and life-transforming technology like e-health, smart cars and more.
"Hey, wait a minute, that sounds a lot like the New IP," you might say. And you would be right. In fact, at "The Road to 5G" keynote session at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday, Stéphane Richard, CEO at Orange, said that the 5G will be important to supporting connected objects and to continuously enhance the quality of experience for customers. (See 5G Visions Dazzle at MWC.)
"With 5G, there will be seamless connectivity at any time in any position," he said. "In 10 years from now, telecom and IT will be integrated into a high-capacity, ubiquitous infrastructure."
To us New IP-ophytes, that sounds very familiar. To get an understanding of the link between the two, The New IP checked in with Diego Lopez, senior technology expert at Telefonica, via email.
The New IP: What is the link between 5G networks and the new IP?
DL: In my understanding (and at least the understanding of the European 5G initiative, the 5G PPP), 5G networks do not only include new radio interfaces or architectures, but also heavily rely on converging all infrastructures to making different access technologies a matter of the "physical last yard" (not even the last mile), and in the intensive use of software for the management, control and data planes. And I'd say this is a direct link to the New IP.
The New IP: We've been hearing that 5G will require a tremendous amount of capital expenditure while the New IP’s proposition is to lower costs and make networks more nimble and easier to operate. Is that accurate?
DL: A pervasive, very high-speed network supporting billion of devices like 5G proposes won't happen without a significant investment. And there is a clear role here for the New IP proposition, making those investments much more efficient and accelerating the process to bring 5G into reality.
The New IP: Carriers have been spending a lot of money since the days of 3G and many have not even completed their 4G deployments. Even with those financial challenges, are carriers committed to 5G out of necessity for the increased speed and capacity?
DL: 5G is currently a concept for research and developments, with a horizon for starting commercial deployments by 2020. 5G will not only imply increased speed and capacity, but the necessary infrastructure convergence and the support for a wide range of new business opportunities.
The New IP: What impact is the growing Internet of Things (IoT) having on 5G rollouts, and do you think 5G will be required for carriers to have a strong business case to support the IoT?
DL: IoT is one of the main drivers for 5G, as the generalization of networked devices would put current architectures under strain, as well as require additional network properties (and their control) in the specific use cases, as the industrial or healthcare environments. It may be 5G will not be required for the initial deployments of IoT services, but the foreseen evolution of a network pervasive well beyond current limits will require a full re-architecturing of infrastructures. And that is what 5G is essentially about.
The New IP: What business models do you see 5G enabling for providers?
DL: Apart from the one mentioned above on supporting a network that is more pervasive to several orders of magnitude, and therefore becoming engaged at different levels with new customers and third-party service providers, the application of software and strong convergence will support business models in line with the ones the New IP foresees.
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Editor, The New IP