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3 reference architecture designs for the telecom industry

Consider these Portfolio Architectures for your next 5G, on-premises, hyperscaler, or radio access network (RAN) architecture design.
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Telecommunication tower with stars in the background

Change means opportunity, and telecommunications service providers are accustomed to change. The rate of change is accelerating as 5G and edge move toward becoming the standard. New opportunities are available to those who have the speed to take advantage of them. An open source approach helps digital service providers respond to the demands of their customers.

For the past few years, Red Hat's Portfolio Architecture team has been developing reference architectures based on customers' real-world use cases in various industries. We have multiple criteria for developing and vetting an architecture collection before we publish it, which you can read about in my intro article about Portfolio Architectures.

We're publishing these architectures for anyone's use on our Red Hat Portfolio Architecture Center and Portfolio Architecture Examples repository.

This article centers around three architectures in the telecom domain. I'll provide a short overview of each and allow you to explore them in-depth on your own.

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Portfolio Architecture Telco Collection
Click image for larger view (Eric Schabell, CC BY-SA 4.0)

In each of these architectures' GitHub repository (linked in the architectures' descriptions), you'll find a table of contents outlining the technologies used, several example schematic diagrams with descriptions, and a link to open the diagrams directly into the online tooling in your browser.

[ Learn how to bring insights and data closer to customers with edge computing. ]

Telco 5G Core: on-premises

5G is the latest evolution of wireless mobile technology that aims to enable the delivery of highly immersive experiences for people and ultra-reliable, low-latency communication between devices. At the heart of each 5G network lies the 5G Core (5GC).

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Telco 5G Core
Click image for larger view (Eric Schabell, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Telco 5G Core: on-premises architecture conceives 5GC as a set of disaggregated, cloud-native applications that communicate internally and externally over well-defined standard interfaces. Each 5GC component is implemented as a container-based application and is referred to as a cloud-native network function (CNF).

The use case is ultra-reliable, immersive experiences for people and objects when and where it matters most.

[ Find out how to design an event-driven architecture for a hybrid cloud blueprint. ]

Telco 5G with hyperscalers

The Telco 5G with hyperscalers architecture describes a 5G solution built with open source technologies at the core that can work across any hyperscaler.

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5G Hyperscalers
Click image for larger view (Eric Schabell, CC BY-SA 4.0)

This use case builds an adaptable, on-demand infrastructure service for 5GC that can deliver across diverse use cases with minimal capital or operating expenditures.

Telco 5G: radio access networks

The Telco 5G: radio access network (RAN) architecture is designed for using 5G to deliver services from the network edge, such as:

  • Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB): 5G enhances data speeds and experiences with new radio capabilities like mmWave frequency spectrum for higher bandwidth allocation and theoretical throughput up to 20Gbps.
  • Ultra-reliable, low-latency communication (uRLLC): 5G supports vertical industry requirements, including submillisecond latency with less than one lost packet in 105 packets.
  • Massive machine-type communications (mMTC): 5G supports cost-efficient and robust connection for up to 1 million mMTC, NB-IOT, and LTE-M devices per square kilometer without network overloading.
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5G Radio
Click image for larger view (Eric Schabell, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The use case is based on the fact that the digital transformation of mobile networks is accelerating, and cloudification is increasing. Following the core network, RAN solutions are now taking advantage of the benefits of cloud computing.

Learn more

These are three of the many reference architectures Red Hat's Portfolio Architects have already published, and we'll continue to add more as we complete them. If you are interested in more architecture solutions like these, feel free to explore the Portfolio Architecture Examples repository.


This article originally appeared on Eric D. Schabell's blog and is republished with permission.

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Eric D. Schabell

Eric is Red Hat's Portfolio Architect Technical Director. He's renowned in the development community as a speaker, lecturer, author, and baseball expert. His current role allows him to share his deep expertise of Red Hat's open source technologies and cloud computing. More about me

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