Cisco 5G innovations launching this year: CEO

Once the mobile traffic leaves the base station, '5G is all us', CEO Chuck Robbins has told ZDNet, with the networking giant currently working on a 5G innovation to be delivered later this year.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins has told ZDNet that Cisco is working on a 5G innovation to be launched later this year with customers, pointing out that the networking giant is responsible for much of the infrastructure underpinning the delivery of 5G.

Speaking with ZDNet during Cisco Live 2018 in Orlando on Monday, Robbins said 5G has become a lot more concrete in 2018, kicking off with multiple announcements during Mobile World Congress (MWC) of concrete deployments.

"Think about it: Once traffic leaves the base station, it's all us," Robbins told ZDNet, with
5G therefore "incredibly important" to the networking giant's business.

Cisco is able to assist carriers in upgrading their existing mobile infrastructure to prepare for 5G, he explained.

"There is a lot of reality behind plans for 5G and contemplating actually the need to upgrade core infrastructure to support the amount of bandwidth at the edge," he said.

"If 5G lives up to its billings, which we think it will, then the core networks of these server providers who deliver the networks are going to have to really evolve to be able to accommodate it, and we're spending a lot of time talking to customers right now.

"We've also been working on innovation that is going to be delivered later this year that actually will be part of that solution for many of our customers."

Read also: Cisco Live 2018: CEO Chuck Robbins pushes tighter datacentre security

During MWC in February, Cisco had launched its 5G Now portfolio, at the time saying it was aiming to help customers manage multi-cloud workloads across the "full ecosystem of private, public, and hybrid clouds to connect enterprise, consumers, and service providers".

5G Now includes solutions across security, client services, and multi-cloud deployments, as well as a mobile virtualised packet core called Cisco Ultra, which will provide customers with a platform to deploy services on Internet of Things (IoT) and radio solutions.

"4G was about buying connectivity, and 5G is about buying experiences," Cisco senior vice president and general manager of the Service Provider Business Yvette Kanouff said at the time.

"5G creates a new environment for service creation."

Cisco's 5G Security Architecture is also aimed at reducing threats to 5G networks, with the offering including the Cisco Umbrella Security Suite and Stealthwatch Cloud.

Earlier this year, Cisco also collaborated with Samsung and French telco Orange on a 5G fixed-wireless trial in Romania, testing the new mobile network's ability to complement fixed-line fibre networks.

During the trial, which was the first in Europe to make use of a multi-vendor environment, Cisco provided its Ultra Gateway Platform, offering a 5G virtual packet core based on Cisco NFV Infrastructure.

Cisco was also chosen to provide pre-commercial 5G infrastructure for Verizon, after working last year alongside Ericsson, Samsung, Intel, LG, Nokia, and Qualcomm to roll out the US carrier's pre-commercial 5G trial network .

The interoperability trials for Verizon saw Cisco provide its Advanced Services Ultra Services Platform 5G virtualised packet core.

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert travelled to Cisco Live in Orlando as a guest of Cisco

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