How PCF Needs to Evolve With 5G

How PCF Needs to Evolve With 5G

December 16, 2021

Can 5G change the world and our lives? Not surprisingly, VoltDB and our 5G technology partner Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) know the answer is an emphatic “Yes!” 5G will have a huge impact on society and transform how people will work and live. But how can communication service providers (CSPs) fulfill sky-high customer expectations and truly deliver the full breakthrough potential of 5G? 

The CSPs that will realize the most 5G success will also be those with advanced policy control function (PCF) technology capable of handling the extensive complexity of 5G. This was the core message from VoltDB’s recent joint webinar with HPE, Getting Ready for 5G Service Delivery with PCF. As leaders in the critical PCF space, VoltDB and HPE recognize policy and service assurance is essential for the new business opportunities promised by 5G to become a reality. 

The Competitive Advantage of Optimizing PCF for 5G

The webinar explored why implementing and optimizing PCF will yield a competitive advantage; why PCF is central to enable the new array of business opportunities made possible by 5G; and why real-time data in the evolution of PCF is critical to the success of enterprises using 5G-based applications.

Speaking first on behalf of HPE, Domenico Convertino, VP Product Management, Telco and Media, observed that 5G is the first-ever technology designed to connect not only people but also sensors, devices and objects comprising the IoT, making 5G a core technology for digitally transforming our economy. HPE is committed to providing open, secure, validated technologies enabling public and private 5G use cases.

The 5G Use Case Explosion

And 5G definitely has no shortage of use cases: Convertino noted that the global mobile broadband standards organization 3GPP identified 74 (!) service scenarios that 5G will enable, spanning machine type communications (including smart cities and buildings), mobile broadband (virtual reality and gaming), and ultra-low-latency applications (remote driving and robotic motion control). 

But delivering this broad and diverse complement of services requires matching the network with the level of quality required for each service. The service quality for virtual reality, for example, will be quite different than for video streaming.

PCF Evolution for 5G 

Prior to 5G, the network dictated how policy would deliver services through a static quality of service (QoS). But now with 5G, CSPs can dynamically define the optimal policy for each end-user service. Doing so will require the ability to handle dramatically more complex policies that require real-time contextual decision making, which is where VoltDB comes in.

Dheeraj Remella, Chief Product Officer, VoltDB discussed how increasingly complex 5G policies are processed from a data platform standpoint. The necessary data processes for creating, ingesting, and analyzing network events are widely known; what is not nearly as well understood is establishing processes for contextual decision intelligence at the application level and operational level.

Dheeraj explained that 5G applications have basically rewritten the rules for data. Specifically, 5G applications must now make consistent, in-event policy decisions based on multiple streams of information, while also meeting latency SLAs and monitoring quality KPIs, which in turn are changing dynamically based on the specific service currently being used. 

The Importance of Being Cloud Native

From an operations level, cloud-native network deployment is an absolute must for network agility; however, Dheeraj emphasized, that is still not enough: you must be cloud-native optimized to truly ensure business continuity and resiliency without losing valuable data. 

Being cloud-native optimized means actively simplifying your network infrastructure to maximize latency and ensure a consistent view of data. Nowhere is this more critical than your chosen infrastructure for contextual decision intelligence—an absolute mandate for 5G success. 

Current decisioning infrastructures are characterized by multiple layers of technologies stitched together for data processing, rules management, storage, and aggregation, which introduce multiple points of system failure requiring their own dedicated maintenance, as well as data inconsistency, high latency, and overall system inflexibility.

Real-Time Decisioning as 5G PCF Enabler

This is where VoltDB’s real-time decisioning truly shines as a key enabler and force multiplier of PCF for 5G.

The VoltDB Data Platform enables contextual, stateful decisions on in-event data, allowing CSPs and service operators to meet 5G’s low-latency SLAs with a dramatically simplified, less costly yet far more efficient technology stack. 

Discover how HPE and VoltDB are supporting leading CSPs in optimizing policy and charging functions that deliver flexibility and innovation to the next generation of 5G applications. View the on-demand webinar here.

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