China's Huawei says a radical new vision and concept for carrier network architecture is what's needed, and conveniently, it's got the goods to deliver just such a system.
Speaking at the IEEE Globecom 2015 conference in San Diego, Huawei Fellow Wen Tong said the company's innovative Application-driven Network (ADN) architecture vision puts applications at the network's core to deliver significant application-efficiency gains for networks.
"Unlike traditional network architectures, ADNs will support application abstraction, network re-programmability, global and local coordination of network resources, and application decoupling by service layering," he said in a statement. "With these advantages, ADN is poised to meet a variety of future application demands, for example, in 5G networks."
Huawei claims it is the first to propose that networks should put applications first, and believes this concept will radically change how networks, both fixed and wireless, will be designed and constructed in the future.
Operators increasing are integrating network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) technologies into their networks, but Huawei says ADN will differ from existing NFV and SDN concepts while integrating NFV and SDN technologies into a comprehensive network architecture that focuses on user experience. ADN also will support 5G network slicing, the vendor said.
Huawei has been one of the more aggressive network vendors pressing on the 5G front, but it finds more success outside the U.S. since it's effectively shut out of the Tier 1 carrier market due to the U.S. government's national security concerns. Huawei has said it wants to demonstrate 5G in 2018 with Russian operator MegaFon in conjunction with the FIFA World Cup, and it's involved in 5G trials with operators like NTT DoCoMo in Japan and LG Plus in South Korea.
In October, AT&T (NYSE: T) Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie warned that a lot of noise would come from other parts of the world, like Asia, about 5G and that people in the U.S. should not get too nervous about those PR efforts.
As with previous iterations of technology, like when 3G was being standardized, operators in Japan and South Korea championed their advancements by showing off their technology during Olympic events. However, the U.S. is generally cited as the leader when it comes to 4G LTE deployments as Verizon (NYSE: VZ) was particularly assertive in quickly covering as much territory as it could.
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam recently said that the carrier expects to begin a commercial test of 5G technology as early as next month at the carrier's Basking Ridge, N.J., headquarters. Verizon in September said it's working with partners Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Cisco, Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Samsung to test 5G in the company's innovation centers in Waltham, Mass., and San Francisco. 5G technology field trials are expected to begin in 2016.
Meanwhile, AT&T has been moving full-steam ahead on the SDN/NFV front, stating its goal of virtualizing and controlling more than 75 percent of its network using new architecture by 2020. For several years, the wireless division, largely under Lurie's management, has been curating its emerging devices and Internet of Things (IoT) business, which is expected to be a big part of 5G.
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