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What does ‘being ready for massive IoT’ mean for you as a service provider? How will today’s core network adapt to meet IoT needs, and what challenges will the introduction of vast numbers of ‘Things’ or devices and their behaviors bring?

The scope for ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) applications is as wide as it possibly could be. In terms of connectivity, it exceeds anything that has come before. According to the June 2018 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, new massive IoT cellular technologies, such as NB-IoT and Cat-M1, are taking off and driving growth in the number of cellular IoT connections, with a CAGR of 30 percent expected between 2017 and 2023.

The range of connected Things is extremely wide and will include cars, machines, meters, sensors, point-of-sale terminals, consumer electronics and wearables, as well as many as-yet-unforeseen possibilities.

The core network is where the ultra-connectivity is translated into service differentiation, business benefit and making differences to our lives. The packet core establishes reliable connectivity, determines quality of service and enforces it through policy, creates value through visibility and control of traffic and applications. In short, it’s the ‘business end’ of the mobile broadband and IoT networks. Setting the fundamentals network aspects securely in the packet core network, and planning for a smooth 5G core introduction, will enable you to realize opportunities offered by IoT, while mitigating against potential problems.

Common core or IoT slice(s)?

A common, shared core permits you to start a massive IoT launch, before continuing toward a virtual EPC and network slicing. Another more service-centric approach is to create a separate core for IoT, an ‘IoT core slice’. This separation permits per-core optimization and scaling for fast growth, which is particularly important in the IoT case.

IoT Core

During early IoT service introduction, an IoT core isolates the MBB network from possibly faulty IoT terminal behavior, and the impact of IoT traffic peaks on the revenue generating MBB network. The IoT network slice can implement separate resource optimization, security, transport characteristics and functionality, distinct from the rest of the service providers MBB network assets.

Ericsson Cloud Core software supports flexible deployments of all key core network functions in both physical and virtual environments, and IoT services can be implemented with both physical and virtual implementations, for either 4G EPC, 5G EPC, or 5GC, through a software upgrade.

So far, approximately half of our customers have been building a separate, dedicated IoT core.

Reaping the benefits of automation

New IoT services will need to be ‘brought up’ as quickly as possible, and then perhaps modified based upon demand or network conditions, or even an external stimulus, or combinations of criteria. That’s why we’re taking every possibility to increase automation capabilities and for example using automated workflow to bring the Massive IoT Packet Core into operational service.

What would ordinarily take a small number of days to achieve manually, can now be achieved in an automated manner within an hour.

Being ready?

So, what does ‘being ready for massive IoT’ mean? In the paper ‘IoT—it's time to go big! Ericsson's Massive IoT core network is ready’ we explore some of the essential EPC, SDM, and Policy Management building blocks for IoT network services. We also explore service-related workflow automation and responsiveness. Next we’ll look at the benefits of exceptional core performance and efficiency and how to protect the network from some of the potentially negative effects of huge scale with a consistently robust network response.

To conclude we’ll look at how to turn transformative new technologies such as IoT, NFV and network slicing into hardened operations, that you, as a service provider, can deploy and trust. Click the button below and download the paper:

Download paper

Read more about how to Prepare you core network.

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Maria Düsing

Maria Düsing

Maria works as Solution Marketing Manager at Packet Core, focusing on the transformation from native to virtualization and the introduction of 5G. She has been in the telecom business for over 20 years in various roles including product management, operational development, sales and marketing. Maria has a MSc from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg.