Laying the data management foundation for fast and flexible next generation services

5G has been a buzzword for the wireless telco domain for some time now, but what does it mean in concrete terms for CSPs who want to get ready to deploy 5G services?

The focus areas of 5G are reflected in several key requirements:

  • 1 millisecond end-to-end trip delay
  • 1-100x number of connected devices
  • 1000x bandwidth per unit area
  • 1-10 Gbps connections to end points in the field (i.e. not theoretical maximum)
  • up to 10 year battery life for low power
  • 90% reduction in network energy usage

Conforming to these requirements is posing a whole new set of challenges to telco operators and vendors. Microservices and network slicing constitute the target “architecture” for the network elements of the future, promising more flexibility and specific adaptation on user level. While some of these items can only be addressed in the upcoming years, there are key prerequisites that can and should be addressed today to enable key CSP assets to cope with steeply rising demands.

SCR in 5G network setup

Figure 1: SCR in 5G network setup 

Cloud native design

Having worked on virtualization solutions from the technology’s early stages it has become obvious that with the technology available today, we needed to take the next step towards complete cloud implementation. In this context, making do with VNF managers and diverse hypervisors was not sufficient anymore. Rather, we needed to get to the simple, stateless frontends where a single backend database takes all the burden of virtualizing the heavy data layer.

Atos SCR has been built to satisfy all cloud requirements and to enable any vendor to build their own stateless frontend based on this solution.

SCR was designed from scratch with cloud deployment in mind, resulting in numerous innovative features not found in any other database before.

  • Cell division under load
  • Multiple indexes 
  • Application Views 
  • Multiple redundancy groups 
  • Virtually unlimited scalability
  • Self organization and adaptation
  • In-memory database

The main characteristics of SCR not only allow its use as session and/or subscriber store of any own or 3rd party application but are also the basis for a 5G enabled network. The design focus on the – currently still pre-standardized – 3GPP 5G definitions makes SCR ideally suited for deployment with new use cases like IoT.  

5G ready architecture

In addition to covering the database layer itself, SCR is also utilizing it in Atos’ own 5G compatible stateless frontends. Core network elements use SCR as subscriber database in the traditional subscriber-store use case. At the same time, they are all prepared for the requirements of the coming years by utilizing the superior capabilities of SCR as a session database, making elements like PC(R)F, HSS or SCEF truly stateless. 

This architecture enables operators to reach key objectives for 5G as features like low latency and support for IoT will have a huge impact on the future core network setup.

Stateless Frontends in 5G, Service oriented Cloud Backend Architecture

Figure 2: Stateless Frontends in 5G, Service oriented Cloud Backend Architecture

Preparing the network for microservices

The cloud enables considerable flexibility and efficiency improvements, but by itself this will not suffice to meet the steep requirements: The core network will have to fulfill all of its previous tasks with many times the devices in IoT scenarios, drastically lowered latency for real-time communication, and much higher bandwidth to enable applications like HD/4K video streaming. In the end, only a fundamentally adapted core network will be able to handle those requirements. One promising way forward are microservices and Container. 

Atos is breaking ground in this direction as well. Its products – including SCR, SCEF, PC(R)F, HSS – are being tested on Container while the new common platform is based on microservices.

Find out now about how Atos SCR can help get your network ready for 5G!