Tambora LBO offers a flexible, less costly upgrade path to 5G

| 3 mins read
Tambora LBO offers a 30 per cent cost saving in terms of annual network core expansion costs, while preparing MNOs for 5G.

LBO to enable 5G services

In order to enable the necessary level of service performance and QoE for advanced mobile data services, 5G networks will need to make increasing use of Local Break Out (LBO) in order to face the challenges of rising network infrastructure and backhaul costs.
According to the most recent Ericsson Mobility Report, mobile network data traffic grew 56 per cent between Q1 2019 and Q1 2020. Unsurprisingly, video traffic accounted for 63 per cent of that – 33 exabytes (EB) per month – with that figure predicted to reach 164 EB per month by 2025 (76 per cent of all traffic).
There are many drivers of that growth, including video streaming services, video as part of all online content (ads, News, Social media, and so on), greater size and resolution of device screens, evolved consumer behaviour, and increased network performance from 4G LTE deployments – 5G will of course continue to enable and drive this consumption, as well as other applications such as social media, gaming, and audio. The same report also suggests that 5G will account for 45 per cent of all mobile data by 2025.
The challenge facing MNOs, however, is how to deliver quality of experience to the consumer, while minimising 5G network costs. Enter LBO.

LBO – minimising 5G network costs

LBO was initially designed and launched (in 2013) in order to enable data roaming for consumers. It offloads internet and other traffic at the edge of the network, which enables data roaming at the edge of the network. In practice, however, it is used to provide a shorter route between the packet gateway and nearby access points (to the internet or a cloud service provider) at the edge of the network, while avoiding the core network.
In fact, avoiding the core network for heavy volumes of data-rich traffic will be essential for providing the necessary Quality of Experience (QoE) for consumers and network performance for 5G networks. If more of this traffic is directed through the core, then more core infrastructure is required.
LBO allows content to be cached and stored locally in a secure fashion, which improves perceived user Quality of Experience, while reducing the amount of backhaul required in the core network. It can also potentially enable new use cases, particularly with the evolution of 5G, such as low latency IoT applications, and advanced content services. In short, it allows specific traffic to be offloaded, reducing strain on the core network, without impacting the existing network security.

Avoiding ‘high-risk’ 5G investments

An additional potential issue with adding hardware and software to the core 5G network is the growing threat associated with further investment in ‘high risk vendors’, as determined or perceived by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the UK’s technical authority on cyber security, as well as governments around the world.
It’s clear that MNOs face significant challenges around 5G deployment. They are under pressure to maintain profitability. Despite mobile traffic growth, revenues have dipped 14 per cent over the last 5 years, with EBITDA decreasing more than 20 per cent over the same period.
At the same time, network expansion CAPEX is growing – 5G rollout is expected to be significantly more expensive than 4G, with revenues not matching those of 4G networks even faster 5 years. 5G network architecture will also need to be more flexible in order to enable new services in order to enable new revenue streams and use cases. What’s the solution?

The Tambora LBO solution

Tambora’s SDN / NFV LBO solution allows MNOs to solve 4G growth and enable 5G network transformation now. By offloading internet traffic selectively to edge servers (Netflix, TikTok, YouTube, and so on), Tambora can save MNOs 30 per cent of their annual network core expansion costs.
Our flexible solution minimises LBO equipment and LBO internet link costs, while reducing the costs associated with using EPC and backhaul resources. It allows MNOs to offload specific traffic for key applications at the edge of the network without impacting the core network or breaking network security, providing a simple and less costly route to 5G.