The sheer complexity of 5G and attendant use cases–mobile AR/VR, autonomous driving, remote control of industrial robotics, etc…, presents an opportunity for infrastructure vendors to make big gains relative to mainstays like Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE and Samsung, according to ABI Research.
5G is marked by the softwareization of the network from the edge to the core; the animating principle here is network slicing wherein custom data pipes are automatically provisioned to meet the requirements of a diverse set of use cases, think IoT on one end and mission critical communications on the other. The long view is that software control will create major efficiencies in network and spectral resource allocation.
To that end, ABI Research sees the opportunity for the vendor community to open up to smaller firms with specialized offerings. “Traditionally operators have deployed a handful of infrastructure vendors in their networks, especially in the core network. Stagnating average revenue per user and increasing network traffic are driving operators to be more cost-effective and innovative in network performance and operations management and network upgrades,” Senior Analyst Prayerna Raina said. “The end-to-end digital transformation toward virtualized and software defined networks is creating the opportunity for operators to open their highly proprietary networks and vendor ecosystem to include innovative start-ups.”
Let’s take a look at two companies called out in the ABI report, Affirmed Networks, which has a strong position on network slicing, and Vasona Networks, which is laser-focused on the mobile edge.
Vasona Networks has a mobile-edge computing platform designed to drive quality of experience in a way that helps operators provide a better end-user experience, while facilitating more efficient network usage for operators. We caught up with Vasona’s VP Marketing and Product Management John Reister at Mobile World Congress Americas to get a closer look at what the company is doing.
“We have a mobile edge that goes in between the RAN and the core,” he said. “It’s able to see the types of traffic that are going on on a cell-by-cell basis, can determine the congestion, can figure out exactly when there’s contention between those services and then manage that contention to improve performance of the time-sensitive services.”