Oracle might not be the first name that comes to mind in wireless, but Dish Network’s latest 5G provider is already working with major carriers on 5G efforts.
Dish announced last week that Oracle will help enable a service-based architecture (SBA) for the operator’s autonomous 5G core, including the control plane network functions.
Andrew De La Torre, Oracle Group VP of Technology, spoke to Fierce about network slicing and the vendor’s role in 5G networks.
“We’re kind of quietly doing a lot of business already on 5G with the biggest guys in the world,” said De La Torre, who before joining Oracle spent more than 20 years at Vodafone, including two CTO positions. for a global business. operations in the Americas and Vodafone Malta. Dish, he said, is the third of the major North American carriers that Oracle is committing to on 5G.
Oracle’s 5G strategy is part of Dish’s cloud-native approach to construction, which uses an open radio access network (open RAN) architecture. While there are different versions of what some describe as cloud native, Oracle likes to think that it has one of the purest versions on the market, according to De La Torre.
It is one of the rare cloud players to also offer telecom communication solutions. Working with other customers, the vendor saw almost every variation that a vendor could deploy, including deploying Oracle’s own cloud environment with additional networking functions.
And “it has been a privilege to work with Dish as a partner as they are building what I would say is the purest version of 5G you can build.” Dish is also a hardcore cloud, partnering with AWS as the preferred cloud provider hosting RAN and core.
RELATED: Dish Makes a splash, Chooses AWS to host RAN and 5G Kernel – Industry Voices: Chua
For Oracle’s telecommunications offerings, he focused on the components of the 5G heart control plane, or what De La Torre likes to describe as “the brains”.
Some of the control plane network functions that Dish uses include Policy Control (PCF), Network Repository Function (NRF), and Network Exposure Function (NEF). A component like NEF can provide a simple API, he said, into which customers could directly integrate applications, allowing them to create their own instances of the network.
Dish has said it aims to offer thousands of network slices, although a first 5G market will not be available until later this year. Network control features will help Dish create and manage personalized, service-specific network slices, with policy control and granular access to third-party companies and web applications, depending on the carrier.
“Our decision was to take a best in race approach to be very focused on creating products that stand out in the market from a capability perspective, but to incorporate all of that into something that was really built into the principles. of the cloud and that cloud ecosystem, ”says De La Torre.
REALTED: AT&T, Dish hail open RAN, T-Mobile not so much
Network slicing, which comes into play with standalone 5G, is one of the key capabilities where Dish seeks to give business customers additional control over the software and services they use.
“Oracle’s capabilities will essentially serve as a control tower of our core network, allowing our customers to consume software on demand and facilitating the advanced basic functions required to power a truly automated network,” said Marc Rouanne, Chief Network Officer of Dish, in a statement. declaration.
Focused on the company
Looking to the future, especially for 5G as more than a technology serving consumers, for IoT and Industry 4.0, it is difficult to achieve the level of flexibility with the generations of existing technologies and the tools to meet the needs of various specific services, according to De La Torre.
Operators are currently limited, he said, in terms of what they can do with the radio schedule, quality of service (QoS) settings and the number of different QoS channels they can update. through the fixed network which serves the backbone and connectivity.
“It’s kind of a hard work right now to create these differentiated channels,” he said, adding that this was in the context of carriers largely concerned with voicemail and internet connectivity. Once IoT and other services come into play, network slicing and the ability to slice up portions of the network in increasingly sophisticated ways “are really essential for both. [operators] to be able to differentiate and sell, but also really to the IoT ecosystem which desperately needs this degree of flexibility. “
RELATED: Dish Seeks To Offer Secure 5G Slicing With Nokia Software
Oracle in this sense has an advantage, he estimates, in that it has nearly a dozen vertical industrial business units, with around 23,000 employees – some of whom have worked for years on industrial specialization, which gives the company an in-depth understanding of the transformations of the various sectors. undergoing.
As for the communication unit, Oracle has been able to draw on this wisdom by thinking of the development of functionalities and capacities for cutting the network. This is one of the reasons the vendor believes Dish picked Oracle over other potential alternatives.
Regarding the bundle of functions that enable a slice, De La Torre called the slice selection function itself, the political function and the link function “the holy trinity” to make it all work really well.
And Oracle has put a lot of intelligence of its learning into the observation of the industrial journey in its 5G base products that goes beyond knowledge in communication.
RELATED: The Marek Take: Place Yourself in ‘The Slice Economy’
“We think this will be key for Dish because at the end of the day all of their business is business-centric and they don’t have a large consumer base to lean on if it doesn’t work for them.” , did he declare. “So it will be more important for these guys than for anyone else to have a really powerful slicing solution.”
Still, other operators are considering how to monetize their 5G networks and De La Torre expects many established operators to watch Dish very carefully, take inspiration and “probably go down a fast lane.”