Oracle Eyes 5G Network Evolution at Mobile World Congress | News & Opinion


BARCELONA—Oracle envisions a future of autonomous, flexible 5G networks. At Mobile World Congress, the tech giant rolled out a host of new telco software geared toward digital transformation, including the Oracle Communications Session Border Controller (SBC) and a Acme Packet Platform focused on voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) deployments.

MWC Bug Art“We see the future unfolding around digital transformation, but what we mean by that is something different,” said Jason Emery, ‎vice president of SaaS solutions at Oracle. “Especially as it relates to CSPs [communication service providers] and enterprise customers, they need to take advantage of digital transformation so that their network can evolve.”

“We need to focus on 5G and the impact that will have,” he added. “Think about the difference bewteen an IoT business model versus a subscriber using a voice and data network. It’s different worlds.”

Emery explained that all of these CSP releases stem from Oracle’s entry into the networking space with the acquisitions of Acme and Tekelec in 2013. The Oracle Communications business itself was spun up out of Oracle’s 2006 acquisition of Portal Software for CSP billing and operations support.

The Oracle Communications SBC, which runs as a single software image supporting both Acme Packet platforms and virtualized deployments, is designed to make it easier for CSPs to virtualize their networking infrastructure. Oracle says the SBC can improve call processing performance by up to 30 percent through self-diagnosis of network and system issues and enhancements to network border security.

Oracle also unveiled Acme Packet 6350, the newest addition to the Acme platform family, focused on reducing hardware footprint and costs for VoLTE deployments. The new platform packs an 8-core CPU, 48GB of system memory, and a small 3RU (rack unit) footprint. The company’s other MWC announcement was that of a new Network Charging and Control system with advanced data charging for prepaid mobile networks.

Emery said these releases speak to a bigger picture in software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). Oracle aims to give CSPs a bevy of options in how they support not only current technologies like 4G, VoLTE, and voice-over-IP (VoIP), but adapt for the future challenges of 5G and beyond.

“As more and more service providers are supporting 4G technology, delivering voice-over-LTE, voice-over-Wi-Fi, and other technologies becomes an important complement from a voice-over-IP perspective,” Emery said. “Delivering this capability gives us a great position in the ultimate rollout of VoLTE capabilities in the future.”

He also talked about how Oracle is researching and experimenting with emerging technologies like blockchain and machine learning. On the blockchain front, Emery said the company’s blockchain-as-a-service platform could ultimately underpin things like smart contracts and payments on the network. He said Oracle is prototyping and playing around with a number of applications.

When it comes to AI and next-gen telco infrastructure, the company has grand designs. Oracle is far from the only networking and telecommunications giant thinking about how machine learning could form the engine beneath autonomous, intelligent 5G networks, but Emery said Oracle is tackling the opportunity both from the IT backend and the network frontend.

“We’re seeing AI and machine learning become more and more important for things like 5G, IoT, and smart cities,” Emery said. “Think about a product like a Session Border Controller that can see every media packet flowing between two networks. There’s a lot of information you can glean about the quality of the network and the changes happening, so think about AI being able to recognize when a network is being attacked or having enough data to identify and then react to an intrusion.”

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