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What’s all the hype about 5G? Check out the latest episode of our Technically Speaking series to learn all about the 5G revolution. 

Technically Speaking features conversations between Red Hat Chief Technology Officer Chris Wright and a rotating cast of industry leaders around what's on the horizon for technology.

Wright is joined by Srini Kalapala, Vice President, Global Technology Strategy and Network Cloud, Verizon, for this episode to talk about 5G as it relates to the mobile edge. Kalapala shares some challenges his team has faced in building networks in a cloud native world, how they’re leveraging open source, and the value he sees in collaboration across ecosystems.

In case you missed it, here are some highlights from Wright and Kalapala’s conversation.

The fundamental shift of the fifth generation

5G is changing how we define the infrastructure for networks--higher bandwidth, lower latency, denser connectivity or more devices potentially connected. All of this comes together to create pressure on telecommunications providers to build a 5G network and deliver these capabilities.

The telephone was invented 145 years ago and today we have something called 5G, which represents the fifth generation of mobile cellular data networks. Things have advanced just a little bit since the first phones.

From delivering wide service coverage with 1G, to 2G and SMS, to 3G and 4G which marked an enormous increase in data services and saw the smartphone become ubiquitous.  Each evolution made incremental improvements to ensure a good experience to customers.

But 5G isn't just about human connectivity. It's also about broad connectivity, including machines, which unleashes a whole new set of use cases.

"It's a network built not only for humans, but machines, you know, connecting all the future technologies and the future machines that are going to be either driving autonomously in whatever way," Kalapala says. 

"Now we deploy cloud infrastructure. And then on top of that, we now deploy applications where we want them, when we want them and in whatever scale that we want. That's the fundamental shift in the way we are building and managing networks in the world of 5G."

Building it together

Red Hat brings automation technology to the table, which can help manage the complexity that comes with moving from virtual machines to containers. With automation, Verizon can focus on the value it’s creating in its network. But we’re not building it alone. There’s an entire ecosystem. 

Kalapala shares that Verizon engineers can focus on creating next-gen experiences with the help of the ecosystem to deal with lower level integration. "The ability to be open and collaborate across ecosystems is a game changer," says Wright.

How does 5G connect to open source?

So how does open source factor into Verizon’s strategy? It uses open source to accelerate the shift to some of the newer architectures and newer platforms. 

Kalapala provides an example in the episode. "We've been IPv6 and we needed a stack that can, as we shift to cloud native and virtualization, that can support IPv6," he continues, "So we see that there is a rapid adoption of some of these changes by working through open source because everybody is a member of that."

A common denominator in the industry

As enterprises like Verizon are expected to deliver many more capabilities, custom stack development would not scale and provide the speed and agility needed to meet demand. Kalapala explains, "We're seeing the shift where everybody prefers this common definition, common denominator, so that they can then bring in their own specialties on top of that." 

In this generation of telecommunications, new customer demands will drive a tremendous amount of change for the industry. 5G creates new business opportunities spurred by human connectivity and machine-to-machine connectivity. Wright summarizes, "It's really poised to become the foundation for next generation software solutions that will fundamentally change how we live our daily lives."

Speaking of episodes

Want to learn more about 5G and the edge? Each episode of Technically Speaking sheds some light on a technology trend. If you missed them, you can head to our YouTube channel to view Episode 1, which peeled back the layers of the edge, and Episode 2, which explained how businesses manage IT Ops at the edge. Don’t miss another episode of Technically Speaking - make sure you hit subscribe!


About the author

Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies.