Finnish telco Elisa and kit vendor Ericsson have deployed what they say is the first In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) capability on a live production 5G Standalone network in Europe.
The ISSU is being touted as a milestone in automating and creating self-driving networks by the firms. Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core is designed to be fully cloud-native and is deployed using containers with Kubernetes orchestration, we’re told.
The benefit of such a thing is apparently ‘the ability to have an implementation architecture built on smaller building blocks – microservices – each of which can have separated lifecycle management processes.’
Each microservice running in a live network can be upgraded and managed separately, which is supposed to mean there are no interruptions during the upgrade process or any impact on network KPIs.
What this all apparently means is that operators can maintain ‘existing levels of service’ while shuffling in new technologies to the network, which in turn means a reduction in manual effort for software upgrades, and basically makes the whole process easier and faster – so goes the pitch in any case.
“Elisa is known as one of the most automated digital service providers in the whole world,” said Markus Kinnunen, Vice President, Cloud Services, Elisa. “Now we continue on this path by launching new capabilities in our 5G network together with Ericsson. 5G standalone network will further improve the customer experience and with the cloud-native infrastructure and enhanced automation we can unlock new services and business possibilities.”
Daniel Ode, Acting Head of Customer Unit Northern and Central Europe, Ericsson added: “Upgrading and evolving software across the core network without interruption of service to end users is one of the hallmark benefits of cloud-native 5G architecture. We’re proud to have worked with Elisa to bring this functionality to its 5G Standalone network in Finland as part of a longstanding partnership to drive digital transformation in the country.”
It’s being used with live customer traffic in Elisa Finland’s 5G SA network presently, and there are plans to include the capability in other parts of the 5G Core solution in time later down the line.
5G SA is sometimes described as ‘proper’ 5G in that it does not relay on 4G cores as initial rollouts did. Vodafone, Orange and others have already come out with offerings, and one of the chief benefits of it is said to be network slicing, which is a way of improving the reliability and performance of connectivity in certain situations where there is congestion or mission critical operations.
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