Learn how Telenor is simplifying slicing with zero-touch orchestration to provide end-to-end management and automation and collaborating with Nokia to accelerate the take-up of new 5G services by industrial sectors.
Telenor proves the potential of zero-touch orchestration for slicing in EU 5G enterprise project
Telenor and Nokia
Simplifying slicing with zero-touch orchestration to provide end-to-end management and automation
Collaborating with Nokia within the European 5G-VINNI consortium designed to accelerate the take-up of new 5G services by industrial sectors. The 5G-VINNI platform exposes the management functions of the network slice lifecycle through TM Forum’s Open APIs, enabling the rapid onboarding of ecosystem partners and allow those verticals to quickly and easily create, manage and decommission network slices.
Proves slices can be set up between different operators in diverse locations, bridging multi-vendor networks and complex configurations: demonstrates the foundation for sustainable, profitable reliable, new 5G services for enterprise customers across many sectors, using B2B2X models.
Network slicing as a service is key to communications service providers (CSPs) realizing the promise and potential of 5G to deliver new enterprise services and create additional revenue streams. First though, they must overcome the complexities involved in managing hundreds or thousands of concurrent slices that have different parameters and durations.
Telenor and Nokia are collaborating within the 5G Verticals INNovation Infrastructure (5G-VINNI) consortium, proving it’s possible to simplify slicing using zero-touch orchestration – that is end-to-end automation and zero-touch management. At the same time, they are showing that 5G can meet key performance indicators for industry-specific use cases and how the B2B2X business model can generate new revenues.
In other words, they are showing how to build the foundation for reliable, profitable 5G services for enterprise customers, even though the range of needs is diverse and demanding.
Another important factor is that network operators are rolling out 5G on top of the challenges of managing their multi-vendor, multi-generational infrastructure (2G, 3G and 4G), which adds immense complexity. Slice provisioning and orchestration have to take those older generations of technology into account too and work across multiple network providers and configurations to fulfill their potential.
5G-VINNI is a consortium composed of 23 members, with a project plan worth €20 million ($23.55 million) which was set up in 2018, as part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 initiative. Its members include CSPs, network equipment vendors and researchers whose mission is to accelerate industry verticals’ uptake of 5G in Europe. 5G-VINNI provides a series of interconnected end-to-end 5G experimentation facility sites that can be used to build and test practical implementations of infrastructure to support industry-specific use cases’ needs in terms of latency, speed, capacity, reliability, provisioning and more.
To carry out this work, there are interconnected sites in Germany, Greece, Luxemburg, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the UK. The project is looking into how to provide automated orchestration, operations and management systems for 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) and 5G Standalone (SA).
To date, the consortium has enabled 30 real-world use cases to meet diverse needs including those of energy, e-health, industry 4.0, media and entertainment, public safety, smart cities, transport and logistics, and other sectors.
However, 5G-VINNI is more than the sum of the parts of the interconnected test facility sites: This is a cloud-based network instantiation, without functional boundaries, implemented across multiple sites in different countries. Virtualized functions from the network and service layer can be called upon from any facility, regardless of location.
One of the main challenges of creating this environment is how a to deploy a network slice across different locations that is flexible enough to use network services from independent network functions virtualization (NFV) stacks – and all while guaranteeing interoperability between different vendors.
The 5G-VINNI platform exposes the management functions of the network slice lifecycle through TM Forum’s Open APIs. This has two big advantages: The APIs enable the rapid onboarding of ecosystem partners and allow those verticals to quickly and easily create, manage and decommission network slices.
Norway’s 5G-VINNI facility site, hosted by Telenor Research in Oslo, leverages network equipment from Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia, testing equipment from Keysight and EANTC, security solutions by Palo Alto networks and a Cisco IoT fabric.
Telenor is a long-standing Nokia customer and chose the vendor to implement, manage and orchestrate the network functions virtualized infrastructure (NFVI) in a multi-vendor environment at its facility. In addition to its digital management and orchestration platform, Nokia is providing all the primary components needed to design, deploy, modify, monitor and decommission sliced-based network services.
These components include a service and resource inventory, functions for tracking slice instantiation and management, and catalog functions for onboarding network services. Nokia also provided templates for ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC), massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC), and enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) services and also to support lifecycle management operations for the network slice and sub-network slice instances.
The infographic below shows the use cases and projects that the Telenor facility has been involved in.
For example, at a fish farm in central Norway offshore cameras are bringing data to an edge site for pre-processing and analysis before sending it on to the primary site. Another edge site has been set up 60km south-east of Oslo to prove out a defense/military use case, providing autonomous edge in case of disaster, supporting low latency applications and high security Inter-facility network slices have linked the Norwegian facility to those in the UK, Spain and Greece enabling one CSP to scale up its operations using another’s service and increasing capacity across the entire network.
This would support, for instance, a UK-based surgeon to treat an injured mountain climber in Norway, or for a NATO team physically based in one country to be led from another. “5G-VINNI will continue onboarding more of the existing and new vertical customers to the advanced 5G experimentation infrastructure to support their challenging requirements with network slicing and zero-touch end-to-end orchestration,” said Pål Grønsund, Senior Research Scientist at Telenor in Oslo and 5G-VINNI Coordinator.
The results of the 5G-VINNI project at the Norwegian site and elsewhere have shown the real potential of 5G for enterprises across many industry sectors. Its success was exemplified at the Third Nordic Conference on ICT in November 2020, when Telenor and Nokia conducted successful demonstrations in three crucial areas: Grønsund summed up, “Automated orchestration and management of network slices will be critical to integrating vertical industries into the 5G ecosystem.
By working across technical and organizational boundaries with all our test site partners, Nokia is playing a key role in the success of 5G-VINNI”. Anastasius Gavras, Program Manager at Eurescom GmbH, states: “5G-VINNI demonstrates the strength of pre-competitive collaboration to timely achieve goals that a single company would have a very hard time to achieve. It provided a distributed interconnected experimentation environment for 5G services, which provides an increased multilateral benefit for the customers and the operators alike.”