World’s First Net5.5G Network Construction Standard Is Released, Unleashing Digital Productivity in the AI Era


[Shanghai, China, June 27, 2024] At MWC Shanghai 2024, the World Broadband Association (WBBA) released the Net5.5G network construction standard during a WBBA Summit themed “AI Empowering Cloud & Broadband Excellence: Opportunities vs Challenges”. The standard defines for the first time the objectives and evolution timeline for network construction in the intelligent era, setting the direction for efficiently unleashing computing power and accelerating the development of inclusive AI.

The AI industry, represented by ChatGPT, is developing rapidly with various large, medium, and small models emerging one after another. From single-modal Q&A bots to multi-modal text-to-image and text-to-video generation, AI technologies have witnessed a boom, requiring a surging amount of computing power and posing stricter requirements on the transmission capacity of networks. In addition, the rapid development of AI technologies significantly improves network capabilities. The industry believes that the AI era requires next-generation networks to consolidate the connectivity foundation and accelerate the intelligent transformation of various industries. For this end, the WBBA, led by more than 80 enterprises that include leading carriers such as Swisscom, Deutsche Telekom, and China Telecom, as well as leading device vendors such as Huawei, set up the Network Technology Working Group (WG4) and jointly defined the Net5.5G-oriented next-generation target network architecture. They also systematically analyzed network requirements and key technologies in the AI era and focused network evolution on three application scenarios:

First, hyper-converged data center networks. In the AI era, the network throughput needs to be improved to efficiently release computing power and reduce the computing power costs of AI. For this purpose, the Net5.5G network construction standard specifies that 400GE/800GE is the basic requirement of data centers in the intelligent era and network scale load balancing (NSLB) technology is used to improve network performance in heavy-load scenarios such as foundation model training.
Second, converged transport networks. Networks must support high concurrency, serve numerous intelligent computing users, and implement intelligent scheduling of computing power through elastic and flexible bandwidth. To address such challenges, the Net5.5G network construction standard proposes that networks need to evolve to a 400GE/800GE ultra-broadband network foundation and improve their flexibility and service quality through technologies such as SRv6 and network slicing.
Third, high-quality 10 Gbps campus networks. Networks need to intelligently identify applications, provide intelligent experience assurance through mechanisms such as resource scheduling and optimization, and meet the experience requirements of AR/VR and HD video conferencing/live streaming services. To meet these requirements, the Net5.5G network construction standard suggests that Wi-Fi 7 and eXperience-centric Network Architecture (XNA) technologies be used to provide ultra-broadband access and experience assurance capabilities and VIP user experience be guaranteed based on user requirements.
In addition, the network construction standard points out that in the intelligent era, technologies such as network digital twin and network foundation models need to be utilized to improve network intelligence.

Tayeb Ben Meriem, Co-chair of the WBBA WG4, said that the release of the Net5.5G target network construction standard specifies the industry development directions and provides clear guidance for network upgrade in the AI era. He also noted that the standard helps comprehensively improve network capabilities, guarantees each phase of digital services, and fully unleashes digital productivity. He called on the industry to jointly drive the evolution to Net5.5G and promote the prosperity of the industry.


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