SK Telecom Claims ‘Bare Metal-Based Cloud-Native 5G Core’ as Foundation for 6G Evolution

Last week, SK Telecom and Ericsson announced the successful launch of bare-metal cloud-native 5G network using Ericsson 5G Core and Cloud Native Infrastructure (CNIS).

Ericsson's press release said:

The live SKT 5G network allows for rapid introduction of new functions and services, and greatly improves service performance. For example, for industrial sites with increased equipment to be served, and concert halls with rapidly increasing traffic, it has the advantage of shortening work hours and efficiently responding to traffic changes through quick response.

SKT's cloud-native 5G core is expected to improve traffic processing significantly compared to existing physical-based cores by applying the latest technologies related to packet acceleration processing, route optimization, and multi-flow control for ultra-high-speed and large-capacity 5G services.

If you are not familiar with the cloud native principles, my old blog post here is a good place to start. Ericsson also has a guide to building a cloud native infrastructure for 5G here.

Interestingly, the press release from SK Telecom on this topic had a slightly different take on this announcement. The following is a Google Translated extract of the original press release here:

SK Telecom has secured a foundation for the evolution of 6G by commercializing a core network that significantly improves the efficiency of traffic processing and distribution of new applications in the communication network through system weight reduction.

SK Telecom and Ericsson provide the latest technologies such as packet acceleration processing, route optimization, and multi-flow control for high-speed and large-capacity 5G services. It announced on the 21st that it has commercialized the applied core network.

SKT was the first in the world to commercialize a new core network using a 'bare metal-based cloud-native' method, improving traffic processing efficiency by up to 50% compared to existing physical-based cores.

'Bare metal-based cloud-native' is an advanced technology compared to the existing virtualization-based system, and it makes the system lighter so that the operating system is not duplicated between hardware resources and virtual resources existing in the cloud.

Through this, the advanced core network can quickly respond to the expansion of communication equipment in industrial sites and rapid increase in traffic such as tourist destinations and concert halls during the holidays, which has the advantage of shortening the working hours of engineers and effectively coping with them.

Increased communication network stability and efficiency by applying advanced cloud technology to the world’s first commercial network

The 'bare metal-based cloud-native' method commercialized for the first time in the world by SKT and Ericsson significantly increases the speed of applying new applications to the communication network and service stability compared to the method in which engineers physically manage equipment. As well as flexible network management, real-time recovery functions can be applied to quickly respond to network overload or failure.

The 'bare metal-based cloud-native' core network is expected to be suitable for personalization services or various types of on-demand services required by companies and institutions. It is expected to be widely used to build various media services, including metaverse, and B2B solutions, led by smart factories.

Leading the evolution to 6G infrastructure by preemptively introducing cloud-native-based technologies

In the industrial field, as the number of advanced ICT services based on 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) increases, application development and modification for network advancement are frequently being made. In order to properly accommodate these tasks, telecommunication companies are making efforts to efficiently manage and automate the application integration and deployment process.

SKT and Ericsson have been developing and verifying the cloud-native-based core network in stages since 2019, and since November of last year, they have been testing for commercial services through full-fledged equipment construction.

SKT believes that cloud-native-based technology, the latest virtualization technology that will be used as the basic structure of the 6G core network in the future, will go beyond the advancement of 5G and lead to the evolution of 6G. To this end, the company plans to continue strengthening technological capabilities and conducting research and development to complete the infrastructure including 6G mobile communication, ultra-precision network technology, and artificial intelligence technology by 2025.

To me it makes sense that we will run all Network Functions, RAN or Core, in containers on bare metal servers in the future. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

Related Posts