Vodafone and Metaswitch (a developer of cloud native communications software) have just carried out the industry’s first 5G Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC) AGF (Access Gateway Function) standard tests, which is a big step towards seamlessly integrating wired broadband and 5G services.
Currently most networks across the world rely on completely disparate core networks to serve wireless and wired services, but 5G WWC aims to combine the two.
This in turn simplifies service provider offerings by reducing the overall complexity of subscriber and service management. It also promotes always-on services, as these are a lot more viable through converged connectivity, and facilitates the use of common credentials, authentication, and a far more unified approach to applying network policy than would be possible with separate core networks.
So in other words it should allow Vodafone (and any other company that uses this solution) to more easily offer combined 5G and home broadband packages, and may even lead to reduced costs and better convergence for users.
The Metaswitch AGF solution relies on the cloud, which helps ensure it can flexibly be applied during network deployment.
The trial was carried out remotely in Vodafone Group labs in the UK, and it seems Vodafone was happy with the results, with Gavin Young, Head of Fixed Access Centre of Excellence at Vodafone Group, saying:
“We are proud to be hosting the world’s first operator test of this technology. Working with Metaswitch, we have been able to prove that the technology works in practice, and we have been very impressed both by the performance of the AGF in Metaswitch’s 5G Fusion Core solution and its cloud native architecture. This trial more than justifies our faith in the value and the practicality of broadband convergence.”
So while this WWC tech hasn’t been applied to Vodafone’s commercial network yet, this is a promising sign that it might well be in future.