Mobile World Congress 2016: More than you can imagine on our path towards the 5G networks of the future

If you are planning to head to Barcelona next week for this year’s Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Feb. 22-25, might I suggest you pack a “hoverboard?” This event just keeps growing and getting better as the latest mobile networking technologies and innovations are unveiled and demonstrated to an estimated audience of more than 100,000 technology enthusiasts from around the globe.

I expect much of the discussions this year to be around the evolution and promises of 5G technologies. A key factor in realizing the economic benefits of 5G is through the implementation of truly open systems.  While 5G has much focus on faster peak data rates, massively higher traffic volumes and much lower latency targets, the end goal is to enable and deliver consistent, high quality services to mobile customers and devices at scale. While the advances in radio technologies for heterogeneous network access are extremely important, Cloud RAN and open source technologies are essential ingredients to 5G networks. In order to meet the explosive growth and end customer expectations, one should have a truly scalable open platform to process data and control traffic in a highly distributed architecture.

In some of these technology discussions, there are still references to “carrier grade” and how to apply that concept in the context of cloud, virtualization and the evolution to the 5G networks of the future. Many service providers have already turned their attention to that of reliability and serviceability, with a focus on the transition from hardware to software, and from human intervention to automation.

Regardless of our technology and architectural decision criteria, imagine if customers could have access to personalized services and applications that are just there, always securely available at any time, anywhere they connect.

With all this in mind, cloud services delivery concepts with scale-out architectures, virtualization, resource pooling, and automation may be applied to networking—but you should carefully consider your approach to serviceability. As we continue push the laws of physics, miniaturization, and radio technologies, we need to try and improve the response and recovery times of highly distributed open systems such that applications and services are resilient to the expected infrastructure failures.

Many service providers are taking advantage of open source innovations through cross-industry, best-practice hardware and software platforms, enabling them to focus on adding value through their operational excellence, their radio and transport network assets, and with business partnerships expanding their routes to market.

I am really looking forward to engaging with our customers and partners at Mobile World Congress as we continue our hectic journey to build and adapt the networks of the future.  Lots of excitement and energy are ahead, and it is getting even better as customers have more choices about how they consume content wherever they connect.


Stop by our booth to continue the conversation and to explore how Red Hat is driving innovation in the telecommunications industry by providing open source technologies with security features, reliability, and serviceability to meet  the needs of your applications and services.

By the way, amid the hectic pace that will surround us next week, make sure to enjoy some of the local traditions as well: late evening “tapas,” futbol, a visit to see the unfinished Basilica Familia Sagrada from Gaudí, and one of my favorites, a wonderful Spanish coffee and taste sensation know as a “Cortado,”, or “Tallat.”


Photo credit: Alexandra Guerson 

Follow Ian on Twitter @IHood_Ian. Meanwhile, let us know what you’ll be up to at Mobile World Congress in the comments section below!

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