Five Benefits of a Multi-Vendor Telecommunications Environment Enabled by a Service-Based Architecture
Previous generations of 2G, 3G, and 4G were mostly about connecting smartphones for human communication, but 5G has diverse use cases for many industries and different types of network traffic. Today, a new, more flexible architectural foundation is required. A 5G network has the ability to interoperate and integrate with multiple vendors using various interfaces and standard communication methods. A Service-Based Architecture (SBA) and cloud-native infrastructure bring the flexibility to choose vendors and also help reduce the challenges that come with this choice, such as integration costs, interoperability testing, and vendor management.
This flexibility enables new business opportunities and gives Communication Service Providers (CSPs) the freedom to choose any vendor without being locked into a single vendor’s technology. But what does a multi-vendor environment, enabled by an SBA, mean for CSPs? Have a look:
1. Choose the best products and partnerships.
Collaborative vendors can spur innovation. But more partners require working together in a multi-vendor business environment. Gaining the revenue advantage of bringing new choices for customers also means building a more flexible ecosystem. An SBA brings the opportunity to pick the best offering for network functions (NF)s from the best vendors from each separate functional area. For example, the recent Mavenir whitepaper shows the possibility of choosing a packet core from one vendor, subscriber management from another, and policy management from a third. Using an SBA in the 5G network brings new network disaggregation and gives CSPs a greater choice in NF vendor selection and less reason to compromise.
2. Go to market faster.
Easier integration facilitates applications that enable a faster time to market. Using the common communication standards of SBA speeds up and streamlines NF integrations from different vendors. Vendors who provide a cloud-native solution with broader support for open APIs can integrate faster with third-party cloud applications that pave the way for easy and faster service creation. Without an SBA, an incumbent proprietary software vendor can take several months or longer to integrate with a new vendor. Being independent also means CSPs can run on any hardware from any vendor to lower cost and increase flexibility.
3. Build a resilient network that reacts quickly to change.
A highly available network is a priority for CSPs. For 5G, availability is even more important since the network will be used for critical services. A multi-vendor 5G core provides the operational capability to adapt and react to changes. Having a single proprietary vendor control the most crucial part of the network limits the CSP’s opportunity to make changes when needed or choose a better option if one is developed.
4. Create new 5G SA services.
Using an SBA and choosing the best independent vendors for each service type brings unique expertise and flexibility to each area. A great example is how one pro golfer may choose to use Callaway clubs, wear Nike shoes, and hit balls by TaylorMade. Gaining the ability to select the best component allows CSPs to quickly deliver new features for NFs instead of relying on a single vendor’s proprietary, sometimes costly roadmap. Together with multiple, best-of-breed vendors, the collaboration stimulates innovation, opens new avenues for revenue generation, and truly accelerates the development of an open 5G ecosystem.
5. Reduce costs.
CSPs can leverage price competition when choosing the best partner and align to the CSPs’ specific technology and business needs. Additionally, service-based NFs can be directly deployed on bare metal hardware to reduce costs by allowing the use of non-proprietary COTS infrastructure.
Besides the flexibility to capture new markets and shorten launch cycles with an SBA, this framework allows CSPs many unique advantages that translate into shorter go-to-market cycles, more network flexibility, and less dependence on a single vendor. The ability to source the best independent vendors to support different network service types based on their expertise may be the most significant benefit. This new ecosystem benefits CSPs by bringing new choices, specific vendor expertise, more competitive NF features, diverse service types, and reduced costs to the mobile network.
Read Mavenir’s recent whitepaper for ideas on how a service-based architecture can also help CSPs capture new markets and shorten launch cycles.