Laying the foundations for 5G and the IoT

The fascinating paradigm we’re currently facing is that, as the world disconnects from cables and moves wireless and the wireless access point moves closer to the user, the need for the fibre connectivity grows substantially both in terms of capillaries and bandwidth.

5G promises much in terms of revenues and new use cases, but for this to be realised it will require an evolution in network architecture and this has significant implications for the access, metro and core network. To deliver on the promised increase in data rates, and to meet the low latency requirements of new applications, evolved mobile networks encompassing advanced 4G and 5G technology will need to be much closer to their users – this means more small cell locations in dense urban environments and these will require high-speed, reliable connectivity.

The new connectivity landscape will see not only new entrants to the space but also new business models forming, which means new ‘neutral host’ entrants are emerging to combat the literal land grab faced by mobile network operators (MNOs) who need to secure small cells in key urban locations. This shift also sees the need for shared infrastructure agreements between parties to ensure the fibre infrastructure is fully utilised.

In many ways the fibre networks of tomorrow will look the same – businesses still need reliable, high-speed connectivity and secure links to public and private clouds. The difference is that enterprises and mobile operators will require a network that offers deep fibre density in metropolitan locations, combined with connections into the key central and edge data centres where much more of the processing will take place.

Colt has been readying itself for the next generation of mobile connectivity for 27 years. Over this time the Colt IQ Network has expanded to encompass 27,500 on net buildings and more than 850 data centres, making it the ideal backbone for mobile operators who require dense, metro connectivity to enable the future mobile networks of tomorrow. Colt’s fibre proposition, partnered with its intelligent network architecture, puts us in a position to be a key partner for businesses who are starting to delve heavily into the world of IoT, mobile and wireless connectivity or simply those that utilise and create big data, therefore requiring both connections to large-scale data centres and edge storage facilities.

Colt and Cisco delivering 5G Backhaul

Today Colt is highlighting its work with Cisco to deliver the use case of 5G backhaul. With the ability to deliver 5G backhaul, Colt will help managed service providers (MSPs) around the world to support new 5G services at exceptional scale, data rates and low latencies, offering more flexible and cost-effective solutions.

To differentiate its 5G backhaul offering and accelerate the delivery time to its customers, Colt will deploy Cisco’s segment routing and Ethernet VPN (eVPN) based architecture. Segment routing is a new way of routing that makes the network more flexible and scalable. “You don’t need to maintain a per-application state and per-flow state,” said Peter Coppens, Vice President, Product Portfolio at Colt. “It helps us to build scalable networks.”

Cisco’s EVPN solution is particularly important for Colt’s 5G backhaul because it can replace the need to deploy fibre, in some cases.

The deployment of 5G currently requires significant capital and operational expenditure by MSPs due to its bandwidth demands and required fibre investments. By allowing MSPs to share connectivity costs while maintaining individual service level agreements (SLAs) for their applications, Colt’s deployment with Cisco will help its customers deliver 5G services to end-users faster and with lower subscription costs.

The partnership with Cisco will also enable Colt to support newer 5G deployment architectures using Cloud Radio Access Network (CloudRAN). CloudRAN lowers operational costs through more efficient use of spectrum and radio resources and cost-optimised antennas that require fewer site visits.

Mark Gilmour is Head of Mobile Connectivity Solutions at Colt.

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