Ericsson, Microsoft empower CSPs to transform core networks

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Executing a series of test cases, we have successfully run 5G CNFs on Azure Operator Nexus with 4G and 5G traffic mix. Having reached this milestone, we are ready to jointly engage in customer trials with CSPs on a use case basis. This substantial progress between the companies reflects a shared commitment to meeting the needs of customers and supporting them in their network transformation initiatives.

Today, CSPs have already made significant investments in private cloud infrastructure. Recognizing the evolving landscape and benefits of cloud technology, some providers are now looking for ways to transition to a hyperscale platform but do it in a smooth and secure manner, while managing costs and their existing infrastructure investments. For those CSPs who wish to leverage the flexibility and scalability of hyperscale cloud platform, a smooth transition to a new platform is crucial to avoid disrupting their current operations.

Ericsson and Microsoft enable the transition for CSPs by incrementally expanding Ericsson CNFs from their existing private cloud infrastructure on to the Microsoft Azure Operator Nexus platform. The combination initially addresses the CSP’s mobile broadband use cases, while utilizing their existing operating model with minimal impact on processes and tools. Seamless automated lifecycle management, as a long-term ambition, aims for efficient resource allocation, simplified scalability, and streamlined maintenance, ensuring a smooth transition.


Ericsson network functions on Azure Operator Nexus

Ericsson and Microsoft’s journey on deploying Ericsson 5G Core network functions on Azure Operator Nexus spans many months. We’ve invested considerable effort in joint engineering work, preparing our combined technologies for eventual deployment. The teams have analyzed the telecom requirements, defined the joined reference design, and validated the design through a series of comprehensive test cases to identify the optimal operating model and reduce the complexity of deployment Ericsson uses continuous validation and testing to run Ericsson’s 5G Core Network functions on Azure Operator Nexus, with support from Microsoft. Our goal is to guide and instill confidence in customers to deploy and fine-tune the powerful combinations of Ericsson network functions and Microsoft’s platform. This not only saves CSPs valuable time and resources but also ensures a seamless transition and opportunity to accelerate their network transformation initiatives.

Monica Zethzon, Head of Solution Area Core Networks at Ericsson says: “Today marks a significant milestone in our collaboration with Microsoft as we expand our 5G Core network functions onto Operator Nexus platform. Our joint engineering efforts led to a global reference configuration to jointly engage in trials and deployment explorations with CSPs on a use case basis. Our joint solution enables CSPs to navigate the complexities of cloud transformation with confidence and efficiency.”

Yousef Khalid, Corporate Vice President Azure for Operators at Microsoft says, “We’re pleased at what we’ve accomplished to date with Ericsson using Microsoft Azure Operator Nexus and Ericsson’s 5G Core. Our collaboration is an example of Microsoft’s deep commitment to open platforms and customer choice, and we will continue to bring the benefits of our expanding collaboration to CSPs around the globe.”

Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core is built with a cloud-native, microservices-based architecture and combines Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and 5G Core (5GC) network functions into a common multi-access and cloud-native platform that supports 5G and as well as previous generations of Mobile Packet Core. It’s an evolution of Ericsson’s powerful virtualized portfolio, designed for cloud deployment, consisting of its Cloud Packet Core, Cloud Unified Data Management (UDM) and Policy and Signaling Controller products.

Azure Operator Nexus enables operators to run their workloads on-premises or in Azure data centers, where they can seamlessly deploy, manage, secure, and monitor everything—from the bare metal to the network to the tenant. Operator Nexus is purpose-built for carrier-grade workloads, using the same Azure experience offered by the hyperscale public cloud. Proven to run network functions at a tier-one operator scale, Operator Nexus meets the security, resiliency, observability, manageability, and performance needs required by operators to achieve meaningful business results throughout the digital transformation of their mobile network.