Sprint Prepares for 5G, Announces NFV Solution

As the race to 5G barrels ahead, many telecommunication carriers are optimizing their networks to support 5G’s high-speed requirements. Sprint Corporation is the latest, and the Kansas-based telecom giant just detailed their network function virtualization (NFV) plans in a release by chief operating officer, technology, Gunther Ottendorfer.

In a release on the Sprint website, Ottendorfer outlines how NFV deployment is critical to meeting the network demands of 5G technology. He stated, “NFV is an essential building block as we develop our LTE Plus Network to Gigabit LTE and 5G, which will require more efficient scaling of core network capabilities to handle the dynamic flow of data requirements among our customers.”

NFV is gaining momentum as a solution ahead of 5G’s arrival in the mainstream market. It enables carriers to run key networking functions like network address translation (NAT), domain name service (DNS) and firewalling in software rather than hardware. The result: they can then support a fully virtualized infrastructure. The potential for improved network flexibility, reduced hardware costs and increased scale make NFV a prime fit for 5G technology.

According to Ottendorfer, Sprint’s journey to network virtualization involves a number of moving parts, including the announcement of a new NFV/SDN-based mobile core reference solution, the deployment of open-source software to support their NFV goals and a “cap and grow” approach that will see the carrier cut expansion on legacy hardware and build new capacity on their new virtualized platform. In addition, Sprint is also broadening its vendor ecosystem to help drive their NFV and 5G goals — new providers include Metaswitch and Mavenir.

When it’s all said and done, Sprint will join Verizon and AT&T as the next carrier to throw their hat in the NFV ring to benefit their customers and long-term future ahead of 5G.

“We’re excited to lay this foundation as part of Sprint’s network virtualization initiative, which we expect will deliver an expanding range of innovative services to our customers for many years to come. These new services will enable our customers to do more with the devices they depend on at home and at work, while reducing our infrastructure and operating costs,” Ottendorfer said.

To get a broader look at the “race to 5G” and what it means for businesses, check out this article.