Dish selects IBM’s automation and orchestration software for cloud-native 5G network

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IBM is now involved in the United States’ first greenfield cloud-native 5G network, following a deal with Dish Network. IBM will provide its AI-powered automation and network orchestration software and services to help bring broad 5G network orchestration to Dish’s business and operations platforms.

“Our 5G build is unique in that we are truly creating a ‘network of networks,’ where each enterprise can custom-tailor a network slice or group of slices to achieve their specific business needs,” said Marc Rouanne, chief network officer of Dish Wireless, in a press release. “IBM’s orchestration solutions are designed to leverage AI, automation and machine learning to not only make these slices possible, but to help them adapt over time as customer use evolves

He added that the partnership will allow Dish to combine the speed and latency advances of 5G with the customization and intelligence of the cloud.

“The result,” Rouanne continued, “will be a paradigm shift for small businesses, large enterprises and the broader wireless industry.”

The pair will utilize intent-driven orchestration, a software-powered automation process and artificial intelligence (AI) to drive the operations of the service provider’s cloud-native 5G network architecture. Further, Dish will use IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation software, which according to IBM “is designed to continuously learn, provide insights, and use financial impact analysis to prioritize and manage issue resolution and network function.”

The introduction of IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation into Dish’s 5G network architecture is expected to accelerate the creation and delivery of new services and make network slicing possible, which will also Dish to offer new use cases and industry vertical opportunities that are customized to each business and customer.

5G network slicing leverages the principles behind network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN), allowing for flexible, programmable converged networks wherein disparate services that would typically require parallel systems reside on a single infrastructure. In such an architecture, each network “slice” is an isolated, bespoke end-to-end network tailored to fulfill the requirements of a particular application.

“This is a seminal moment for DISH and the global telecommunications industry,” said Steve Canepa, managing director, IBM Global Communications Sector. “By utilizing IBM’s AI-powered automation and intent-driven network orchestration software, Dish can develop and deploy network offerings, applying advanced AI with IBM Watson and orchestration capabilities to help optimize network operations and performance. As a result, Dish can accelerate time to market for new innovative services powered by a secured, automated, intelligent and agile 5G network.”