Will SD-WAN Still Play a Meaningful Role in a 5G World?

Networking technology is always evolving — and the latest iteration of that evolution is 5G wireless. Promising lower latency and greater speed than its predecessors, 5G promises to solve existing networking issues and expand capabilities. What does that disruption mean for SD-WAN?

Efforts to improve infrastructure to support ever-increasing numbers of 5G connections are ongoing. (Gartner predicts that global 5G infrastructure spending will hit $4.2 billion in 2021 and 5G connections will hit 1.1 billion by 2023.) And as proof that the titans of the telecom industry don’t hold a monopoly on innovation, in 2019, Turnium joined a group of tech and communications industry leaders to demonstrate how 5G infrastructure could be rolled out more quickly and easily.

The Future of Open-Source Telecom

Container-based cloud-native solutions offer a wide range of benefits to telecommunications companies ready to embrace new connectivity strategies:

  • Operational consistency
  • Application residence
  • Responsive scaling at microservice levels
  • Simple integration with cloud-native applications
  • Improved portability between cloud environments

While some telecoms are starting to use containerization (an AT&T project uses OpenStack and Kubernetes to support 5G and public safety networks), many have cited concerns about security and throughput as barriers to the cloudification of telecommunications networks.

But at the 2019 KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America in San Diego, a project led by the Linux Foundation’s LF Networking group brought tech and telecom experts together to demonstrate what could be achieved with cooperation between the two industries.

2019 KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Companies

Proving 5G and Cloud-Native Architecture

The Kubecon demonstration employed a range of hardware and software solutions to connect a live video call between the KubeCon event in San Diego, a lab in Montreal and Eurocom in France, using:

  • 5G in San Diego
  • Public and private clouds
  • An IP-multimedia system
  • 4G/LTE in France

Using a 5G core to power a 5G network in a containerized environment and 5G NR radios with commercial handsets, the experiment offered a glimpse of what cloud-native telecommunications could be and demonstrated without a doubt the viability of an end-to-end standalone 5G network using cloud-native architectures.

2019 KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America in San Diego

The Role of SD-WAN in a 5G World

Turnium’s role in the experimental Kubecon project was to supply the SD-WAN, which connected public and private cloud using Kubernetes containers to create a virtual network — the unseen connective backbone for the demonstration.

“At the end of the day, you know Kubernetes is a platform or a tool. SD-WAN is a tool. And if you take all of these tools and put them together, you can actually build something wonderful. That’s what we did in this project here. We were able to deliver a 5G call and run it everywhere.”

— Sandeep Panesar, SVP, Strategic Engagement at Turnium Technology Group Inc.

The conclusion? The value of containerized cloud-native SD-WAN platforms in supporting centralized functionality, cost-effective networks, and infrastructure for telecoms that spans both public and private clouds was clearly demonstrated.

Want to Learn More About SD-WAN?

At Turnium, we empower channel partners to connect what really matters — people, data, devices and applications — through a turnkey multi-carrier managed SD-WAN solution. If you’d like to learn more about the power of SD-WAN or its role in today’s networking solutions, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today to unlock the power of your network.