Telco data centres have experienced an increasingly prominent role in an operator’s 5G network buildouts. Operators undergoing their transition to Standalone (SA) 5G will need to have a firm understanding of the technical demands of telco data centres in SA 5G and the associated technological enablers that can help them execute said demands.
Miguel Castaneda, industry analyst at ABI Research, commented that the rise of the telco data centre has a high degree of confluence with the requirements of SA 5G architectures. He added that SA 5G and its increasing reliance on telco data centres can be attributed to the increasing convergence of cloud computing and traditional network architectures.
“Telco data centres leverage a combination of cloud services delivery principles such as service-oriented architectures (SOAs), service-based architectures (SBAs), and microservices to provide 5G network services to consumers and enterprises,” explained Castaneda.
Telco data centres can be categorized based on their geographic proximity to end-users and capabilities in which they can support specific network functions.
Some data centres are well-equipped to support critical latency-centric network functions while other data centres are more suited to support non-critical workloads such as billing applications and other OSS/BSS functions.
There are also other considerations such as size and power constraints also distinguish telco data centre deployments – from large hyperscale, regional data centres to smaller edge cloud deployments.
The expanding pervasiveness of data centres would require modern transport solutions to deliver the features necessary in delivering differentiated connectivity of 5G.
These features include support for network slicing; Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) architecture in multi-access edge compute (MEC) deployments; and advanced analytics, orchestration, synchronization, and automation capabilities to ensure service delivery across multiple domains of denser, more distributed 5G networks.
5G transport solutions must be streamlined to the context of 5G network workloads and the different telco data centre considerations while also helping operators in being cost-efficient with their data centre and network transport buildouts.
“Modern transport solutions would need to possess physical/logical capabilities such as segment routing-multi-protocol label switching (SR-MPLS), support for multiple traffic types through channelized ethernet solutions, and edge-optimized hardware, such as coherent digital signal processing (DSP) modules that have lower data centre footprints,” concluded Castaneda.