Cisco Live 2018: 5G focus on making new revenue for carriers

Cisco is working with top-tier carriers across the globe on 5G technologies such as network slicing and fronthaul routing, as well as looking for ways to find revenue streams via new enterprise services.

One of the biggest concerns about 5G for service providers (SPs) is about how to make new revenue streams, Cisco Engineering SVP Service Provider Sumeet Arora has told ZDNet, with the networking giant focused on helping them do so.

Given the amount of investment carriers are pouring into building out new mobile infrastructure and acquiring spectrum, it is particularly important that they form new use cases, he said at Cisco Live 2018 Orlando.

"5G should be about new services, especially new enterprise services, that result in new revenue streams for service providers. If it just boils down to bandwidth and spectrum, it's going to be a lot of investment but not commensurate return," Arora told ZDNet.

"So Cisco clearly has a lot of key bold stances on 5G, one of course is to help service providers make new revenue with their investment in infrastructure. Second is clearly deploying the power of IT networking and internetworking all the way into ... the LAN space, so that we can implement technologies like network slicing, coupled with automation, to drive that differentiated enterprise offering, for example a slice for a fully encrypted traffic need or a slice for a low-latency traffic need.

"Different use cases can drive new revenue."

Cisco is also pushing an open, standardised radio access network (RAN) ecosystem for 5G rather than proprietary networks so that it is able to deploy technologies such as segment routing, he said.

"Our approach to 5G is holistic, it goes across IP networks, it goes across our evolved packet core, which is also tied to the network slicing architecture, and we're actively building 5G support," Arora told ZDNet.

This means working alongside other networking companies, he said, to ensure that it is open standards-based for full interoperability.

"Where we need to work together is to also standardise how radio access networks work, and make sure that radio devices can also sit on internet or IP networks," he explained.

"So that's an area we want to work on -- we have formed the open RAN ecosystem, we are going to work closely with the service providers as well as with other partners to further the disaggregation of the RAN so that it's standards based, it's interoperable, and it supports the agenda for all of us, including our customers."

While Arora said there is great traction worldwide on 5G deployments and trials, he said Japan's milestone of being ready for 5G at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games puts it ahead in terms of initiative.

Cisco is working with SoftBank in Japan on its 5G technology, he noted, but is also working with "the top tier SPs around the world" on projects such as defining and building open fronthaul routing and end-to-end network slicing solutions, including in Australia.

"We have a great partnership with the tier 1 providers in Australia as well; we have some amazing work going on in the space of automation together, as well as a close co-innovation partnership in a number of spheres with the Australian SPs," Arora told ZDNet.

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

Arora also spoke on Cisco's work across fixed-line technology in the cable space, pointing towards Full Duplex DOCSIS and saying it is important to enable 1Gbps and 10Gbps services for home broadband using existing assets rather than carriers building out expensive fibre networks.

"We recently launched our cloud broadband router, cloud-native CMTS solution," he told ZDNet.

"That is quite disruptive, in terms of offering a software-driven approach to DOCSIS. And that coupled with our Wacom Remote technologies actually helps bring higher bandwidth closer to our customers, as well as results in what I would call deep IP-fication of the access network all the way close to residential customers, which essentially translates to more intelligence, more services, more automation.

"And then couple that with innovation that we're driving in cable speeds, such as Full Duplex technology."

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

Cisco Live 2018 Coverage