Designing the operations platform for diverse vertical private 5G networks
Promoting private 5G networks in vertical industries is challenging for various reasons. To address this diverse market, China Unicom based its ecosystem-based platform for network operations on cloud architecture to offer verticals a differentiated, customized end-to-end 5G private network service to meet their specific needs.
This is critical because different sectors – from manufacturing to hospitals, electricity generators, and schools – use 5G services differently, needing different service parameters. They also have higher expectations in terms of network service level agreements and service quality. Yet in today’s market, enterprises cannot select and manage network capabilities on typical private 5G networks to meet their business needs. For example, it is difficult to guarantee differentiated services, while construction and activation processes are long and difficult, as is configuring network capabilities. It is also hard to master business processes, the network status is invisible, and it takes too much time to detect faults.
China Unicom’s private 5G network operations platform is designed to support customers’ businesses, operations, and maintenance work. It has a cloud-based, distributed architecture, data storage, and query facilities, real-time data monitoring, customization capabilities and cloud edge technology. It fuses IT and cloud technology and provides verticals with a standardization template and customization service for private 5G networks, plus full lifecycle management for services.
The overall system design refers to TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture (ODA), which separates the front- and back-end applications and the back-end applications are decoupled, so the system can be constructed and deployed flexibly. Components are reusable to some extent, lowering construction costs. The platform has an operation and maintenance ecosystem of multiple suppliers to offer more efficient and effective support.
The system draws on the Forum’s Open APIs for an API-enabled gateway to expose capabilities within enterprises and to the industry's customers. While traditional IT cloud platforms only offer a basic platform that does not provide a good interactive experience and digital interface for online activation, operations and delivery. China Unicom’s database adopts a distributed, columnar storage structure for fast, efficient retrieval of data and real-time data monitoring to make cloud data available in minutes instead of hours.
TM Forum assets used