How 5G is changing the telecom sector in India


The mobile communication networks are witnessing tremendous advancement beginning with 1G followed by 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G. The Indian telecom sector is considered the second-largest in the world with approximately 1.2 billion subscribers. The latest cellular technology 5G is the next step for the telecom industry in India. However, 5G will not be the same as legacy networks such as 2G/3G and 4G LTE. 5G involves many innovative business models that can evolve the telecom market and help in digital transformation. 5G technology standard has been designed to connect millions of sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, machines, enterprises, and users to the network to realize diverse use cases such as enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC), and Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication (uRLLC). Mr. Somenath Nag, VP – Marketing & Corporate Strategy, Calsoft  in a discussion with CXOToday shared more insights on the same.

Q1. Why is 5G required in India?

5G promises ubiquitous connectivity, gigabits per second higher speeds, massive capacity, ultra-low latency, higher reliability, and high energy efficiency, making people’s lives easier and smarter. 5G will lead the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0, which can bring a massive change to the Indian economy. For example, significant advancements such as remote robotic surgery or patient monitoring, smart cities, smart logistics, and driverless cars are possible with 5G technology. 5G network has been designed in an all-encompassing manner to quickly deploy customized services to cater to the needs of multiple vertical industries such as Healthcare, Public Safety, Education, and Smart Factories. 5G technological advancements will demand many skillsets, making the telecom sector one of the top employment opportunity producers in India. Global reports say that by 2035, 5G will enable around 22 million jobs worldwide. 5G is also seen as a high-capacity backbone for rural connectivity that can bridge the digital divide in the country.

Q2. How will 5G impact the current data center ecosystem?

5G services need to process a huge amount of data quickly in real-time from heterogeneous sources, ranging from tiny sensors to machines, robots, vehicles, and drones. Depending on the specific service requirements, the size, location, and capacity of a Data Center (DC) vary. DC infrastructure is expected to be agile, flexible, and scalable to meet the diverse 5G service requirements. Some of the most common DC types are:

  • Enterprise DCs: Built, owned, and controlled by organizations for internal users
  • Cloud-based DCs: Distributed DCs managed by third-parties or public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure
  • Hyperscale DCs: DCs associated with massive data producing companies such as Google, Amazon, and IBM
  • Edge DCs: Smaller DCs that process the data locally, close to the network edge

The processing of massive amounts of data highlights the need to shift the computational capabilities closer to the users or at the network edge. For this, DC infrastructure needs to be upgraded to embrace 5G technology capabilities such as Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC).  This introduced the Edge DCs placed at the network edge to support latency-critical services.

With 5G, the new generation of micro–Data Centers (µDCs) are easily deployable through plug-and-play solutions. µDCs are compact versions of DCs, comprising of compute, storage and networking resources that can be deployed in indoors or outdoors spaces. Such DCs can be connected to local smart grids, with battery back-up to work with extreme energy efficiency. The Radio Access Network (RAN) and µDCs will form part of the edge-based local content delivery framework in 5G.

Q3. How has Calsoft renewed its telecom push to 5G?

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are migrating towards software-enabled technologies such as Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) to realize new services. Another key advancement happening with 5G is the adoption of telco cloud by Service Providers (SPs). In this novel architecture, the underlying physical infrastructure becomes abstracted from the software running above, with a cloud-native data center approach. In a 5G network, software intelligence moves to the cloud, and the applications are controlled by a network orchestrator. This indicates disaggregation of the infrastructure, which requires virtualization, automation, and orchestration. Calsoft plays a major role in the storage, networking, virtualization, and cloud domains, assisting telcos in achieving their novel business and tech goals.

5G Networks are evolving into a framework based on open standards and interfaces, where multiple operators or different stakeholders can run any application function on the edge, and core as per the service requirements. Open RAN drives the 5G network towards this objective through open-source platforms, standards, interfaces, and automation and intelligence in the RAN controller (RAN Intelligence Controller (RIC)). RIC involves microservices and analytics that can open up the marketplace to third parties or different stakeholders. Calsoft contributes significantly in the field of analytics, and works with leading companies in several open-source projects such as bare metal provisioning, edge orchestration, and OpenStack. As open-source adoption for telcos increases, Calsoft intends to play a significant role in providing open-source solutions to the telecom market. Calsoft is extending its focus in the Private 5G market to leverage our capabilities and ensure the best Enterprise solutions available for telcos and various industry verticals.

Q4. What are current and future adoptions in 5G networks?

5G networks are diverse, with composable architecture that can transform based on network usage or service requirements. 5G will be a unified platform to enable mission-critical, broadband, and massive IoT services. The industry organization Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), which defines technical specifications for cellular technologies, is driving many crucial developments across all facets of 5G design, from the air interface to the service layer.  With Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) principles, an end-to-end device and network transformation is happening in 5G, enabling 10x ultra-low latency, 50x peak data rates, and 1000x greater capacity when compared to legacy technologies. 5G New Radio (NR) is capable of supporting all spectrum types (licensed/unlicensed/shared), low/mid/high or mmWave bands, and a wide variety of deployment models covering traditional macro base stations to small cells (pico/micro/femtocells). 5G network design uses relevant cutting-edge technologies, which include the combination of infrastructure moving towards virtualized data centers or micro DCs, Open RAN, Control Plane and User Plane Separation (CUPS), and Network Slicing.

In the future, 5G network fabric combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI) will act as a catalyst to realize innovative use case models for Private Networks such as Enterprises (Smart campuses/malls/hospitals), and Smart Manufacturing. 5G and AI can fuel the connected intelligent edge to support immersive AR/VR applications. This distributed intelligence capability enhances the Quality of Service (QoS), security, and energy efficiency and simplifies deployment.

Q5. How will the 5G network usher in a faster and more reliable network scenario?

Peak data rates, higher reliability, availability, and low latency are the key features Service Providers (SPs) expect from the 5G network fabric. Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC) is one of the key services in 5G, which enables applications that demand a reliability rate of 99.9999% and ultra-low latency of less than 1 ms. 5G NR air interface primarily contributes to the stringent latency and reliability requirement of URLLC. In order to achieve higher speed and required reliability, 5G needs to incorporate some key design features:

  • 5G NR supports scalable numerologies and slots to underpin a wide range of the spectrum, services, and deployments. Numerology is defined by subcarrier spacing. 5G NR supports multiple subcarrier spacings, ranging from 15kHz to 480kHz. For short transmissions, mini-slots can be used and the slots can be integrated for longer transmissions.
  • Beamforming can enhance the data rate and reliability in communication by focusing the signal towards a specific desired direction
  • Network Slicing partitions the physical infrastructure into multiple logical networks to effectively realise multi-tenancy through shared virtualized network infrastructure
  • Faster packet retransmissions are enabled by moving Hybrid ARQ to the low-PHY layer
  • Grant-free uplink access in 5G eliminates any handshaking process prior to radio resource assignment

Q6. What are the open-source projects behind 5G core architecture?

Open-source projects are complementary to standards to realize interoperable solutions eliminating vendor lock-in. The key objective of open-source projects is to solve technical challenges and extend technical capabilities enabling innovative ecosystems at scale. Open-source models are expected to enable quick deployment scenarios. There are numerous open-source projects covering multiple domains of infrastructure, management, control, access, and the core. Some of the main 5G Core open-source projects are listed below:

  • OpenAirCN-5G Project
  • M-CORD
  • Magma-Linux Core Foundation
  • Open vSwitch
  • Kernel-Based Virtual Machine (KVM)
  • Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP)
  • Agile Reference Implementation of Automation (ARIA)
  • NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO)
  • Open Stack
  • Open Daylight
  • Open Network Operating System (ONOS)
  • Open compute project
  • Kubernetes
  • Edge Multi-Cluster Orchestrator (EMCO)
  • Airship

Q7. How can tech companies help telcos monetize the Metaverse?

The Metaverse is a 3D virtual space that paves the way for immersive applications such as XR or AR/VR. Telcos can play a key role in unlocking this big opportunity. However, telcos must extend their capabilities and services beyond traditional ones. 5G is foreseen as a key enabler for the Metaverse. The telco can utilize technologies such as AI, edge computing, and analytics together with 5G to explore opportunities in the Metaverse. Big tech companies like Facebook (Meta) and Microsoft are centered around producing seamless digital experiences in immersive XR applications.

The key characteristics of 5G such as massive connectivity and higher data rate can contribute significantly to the development of the Metaverse. Telcos can be the leading connectivity SPs by ensuring reliable and high-speed fiber connectivity for Metaverse applications. Different players such as hyperscalers, industry verticals, and technology platform providers can engage in Metaverse development. Telco becomes the key orchestrator for the metaverse ecosystem, enabing edge computing and cybersecurity services.  Telcos with a relevant 5G infrastructure toolbox such as Network slicing, micro DCs, edge-cloud, standarad interfaces/APIs, Open RAN and Service Based Architecture (SBA) can underpin the complex metavesre ecosystem. In the future, by encouraging the right and advanced analytics and AI capabilities, telcos can generate potential monetization methods to support revenues.



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