5Qs on 5G: Citrix

Inside5G’s 5Qs on 5G series explains who is doing what in 5G.

In this episode it is the turn of optimisation and application delivery platform provider Citrix. Its Netscaler hardware and software based virtual appliances control and manage the delivery of applications across service provider networks, while its ByteMobile Adaptive Traffic Management and Analytics products provide optimisation and insight into application and network performance.

So how does it see itself fitting into, and shaping, the development of 5G networks?

Here Inside5G continues its series of short profiles of companies that are reacting to and defining the next generation of mobile networks. Answers are from Mikko Disini, Director Product Marketing, Citrix.

  1. Where is Citrix likely to play in responding to 5G requirements, what 5G-specific functions and capabilities will its products and technology provide?

Citrix NetScaler’s role in the 5G environment will serve primarily as a scaling technology – optimizing the TCP sessions so that they are able to maximize the available capacity on a 5G connection in the most efficient way possible. This maximizes the utilization of the available spectrum with a particular focus around providing the best performance for each wireless user. With the ability to quickly recover from lossy connections due to packet drops (common in situations where line of sight towers cannot be placed or during times of congestion), NetScaler is particularly well tuned to enable operators to take advantage of new capacity and improve the end user experience. Within Gi-LAN – NetScaler will provide traffic steering, service chaining, and carrier grade NAT.

  1. Does Citrix think it will need to develop new technology, capabilities and features of its own to address specific 5G requirements?

Yes, we anticipate several new directions and developments within the 5G landscape which will lead to product development. The first would be superior TCP optimisation algorithms – ideally suited for 5G. Secondly, fully virtualised high speed/performance Application Delivery Controllers for S/GI-LAN. Finally, effective service chaining using the latest standards.

  1. How is Citrix contributing to current 5G research and development?

We don’t contribute to the RAN side of 5G, because we don’t participate in 5G standards as such. We participate in the IP traffic – we are making a contribution to the R&D of the 5G landscape in regards to enabling the application delivery that will be required for 5G, such as IoT and Cloud services.

  1. Will 5G networks bring about a necessary change in the vendor ecosystem – ie partnership, collaboration, open software/interfaces etc? 

Absolutely, 5G as a trend has the potential to trigger a brand new investment cycle, putting more resources into the development of the ecosystem.

Operator networks within this investment cycle will lead to the insertion of NFV and SDN technologies at scale and across their networks. These technologies are based on a suite of standards and guidelines that have open interfaces, in many cases leveraging available open source technologies.

Operators who deploy NFV will seek solutions that have open interfaces and APIs, so that new apps can be inserted quickly and new vendors/smaller companies and their solutions can be deployed and validated without the large operational overhead required today. We will see an increased emphasis on streamlining procedure and lowering OPEX costs.

We will see growth in the overarching ecosystem, including the emergence of new and exciting smaller companies

We’ll still have the big players that we have in today’s marketplace, however we will see growth in the overarching ecosystem, including the emergence of new and exciting smaller companies. We would liken the situation to when Apple created the app store for the iPhone. Suddenly a whole new market opened up with new companies who made their money solely from developing apps, it was an entirely new ecosystem. There’s an interesting parallel here as new start-ups and smaller businesses will flourish in the market, in turn making the network more valuable and providing the end user with more options and services.

  1. Is the 5G narrative being developed by a broad enough range of voices, or are we hearing too much from the “same old” leading network vendors?

5G is about new standards, applications and services, as well as the economics around this. The traditional players are leading the pack (as you’d expect), however the 5G narrative, particularly around IoT apps encompasses a wider set of developers and enterprises.

As the 5G narrative broadens and the ecosystem grows, we will see the development of a wider range of voices. Driving this is the continuation of the move to mobility for enterprises. The mantra of working from anywhere, on any device. Mobility requires widely available high speed mobile services that 5G will be able to deliver. 4G is capable of this however 5G will only improve upon the technology, providing a better experience for the end user.

Leading network vendors will always adopt the latest technology because the cost delivery per data packet is much less. 4G had a lower cost than 3G and so on. Many smaller companies will contribute to the latest technological developments which are made possible in a 5G environment. In this sense, they will play their part in shaping the wider industry.