In two weeks, I will be in Tokyo for the continuation of our worldwide road trip for our customers and prospects. The trip will be focused on meeting the needs of the service provider community. It’s always interesting going to Japan as their networks are typically ahead of the rest of the world— that’s where I first heard about SDN/NFV.  I’m sure we’ll be hearing about 5G and Internet of Things networks on this trip.  And while I will talk about that and how Dialogic is interacting with 5G and IoT networks, it’s probably a good time to remind people that even though we hear the hype, and we hear it loudly, we’re not there yet. There is a lot of do.

First of all, we need to get to a software-based infrastructure.  The industry is getting there, and Dialogic’s PowerMedia XMS is the industry-leading software-based MRF, but there is still much work to do in other infrastructure nodes.  So this whole change to software will be phased, and then even after that, the phasing to NFV will also occur.

Secondly, there is a lot of work still going on with extending the current LTE networks. I mean, the 5G specs aren’t even written yet.  So extending to VoLTE and VoWiFi is a realistic option right now for many carriers.  When these networks are deployed, there will likely be some software-based infrastructure, such as a software-based MRF in there.

Third, yes, shockingly enough, 3G networks still exist. Dialogic still has a robust SS7/Sigtran business because connecting LTE networks to the 3G networks is important, and because there are still upgrades going on with 3G networks. 

WebRTC is entering the app picture in a stronger way now than ever before.  App innovation for the LTE/4G networks is strong.

And more MVNO’s than ever before are entering the fray. These will run on the existing 3G and 4G/LTE networks.  The move to NFV should help MVNO’s offer more services as utilizing cloud-based services would be cost effective for them.  I would expect we’d see some of the first NFV based overall solutions here.

Anyway, with all the hype about 5G networks, let’s remember that the specs aren’t done yet.  Yes, service providers are deploying, in some cases, something they call 5G, but overall, there is a lot of work to do for 5G and there is a lot of interesting deployments still to occur on 3G and 4G/LTE.