BlogWhere Does SD-WAN Fit in the World of 5G?

The modernization of networking and technology solutions never stops. The latest and greatest? 5G wireless. It’s been touted as revolutionary. Faster. Lower latency. Reach anywhere and everything. Game-changing stuff for sure. So, what does that mean in the world of SD-WAN?

Gartner estimates that there will be $4.2 billion spent on 5G wireless network infrastructures globally this year. In 2019, the number of 5G connections hovered around 10 million — by 2023, experts estimate that number will climb to 1.1 billion. And all that project growth means work and research on infrastructure to support all those connections is never-ending.

In fact, as far back as 2019, the team at Turnium was working with other industry-leading tech and telecommunications companies to address that very issue.

Did You Know?

The need for low latency, high bandwidth, scalable network solutions is continually growing to meet demand driven by the deployment of tech like autonomous vehicles, smart cities, Internet of Things deployments, security and access control, augmented/virtual reality and more.

A Demo Designed to Excite

It’s no secret that the Kubernetes container orchestration platform has gained traction in the world of cloud and enterprise software — but how has that progress translated to the telecom industry? Telcos stand to benefit from cloud-native adoption, gaining:

  • Operational consistency
  • Application residence
  • Responsive scaling at microservice levels
  • Simple integration with cloud-native applications
  • Improved portability between cloud environments

AT&T took early steps toward embracing Kubernetes, eyeing greater cloud control of network assets with a project combining OpenStack and Kubernetes to run its 5G and FirstNet public safety networks as containerized network functions. But concerns about security and throughput capabilities kept progress limited to a cautious pace.

Then came KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America in San Diego. Working under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation’s LF Networking group, Turnium joined together with other industry leaders for a demonstration that offered a glimpse of what the future of open-source telecom could be — and the cooperation needed to make that vision a reality.

A10 Networks



China Mobile

China Mobile Commscope








Red Hat


Taking the Network to the Cloud

The experiment, which featured multiple locations, a variety of hardware and software components and a Faraday cage — to restrict the reach of the mmWave spectrum in compliance with FCC regulations — combined

  • Localized 5G for the demo
  • An SD-WAN network to provide voice/data path
  • Public and private clouds
  • An IP-multimedia system
  • 4G/LTE in France

to connect a live video call between the KubeCon event, a lab in Montreal and Eurocom in France.

Demonstration team members powered the 5G network with a 5G core, running in a containerized environment. Using 5G NR radios with commercial handsets, the experimental network successfully connected the live call — despite the complexity of the components and locations involved — proving that a full end-to-end standalone 5G network using cloud-native architectures was indeed possible.

“It’s absolutely thrilling living on that bleeding edge. It’s exciting, lots of risk, but the pay off yesterday was fantastic — to be able to complete that call while on stage. It really is a community filled with love and a real drive and desire to build something new and different.”

— Sandeep Panesar, SVP, Strategic Engagement at Turnium Technology Group Inc.

KubeCon event

Where Does SD-WAN Fit?

So where, in the world of cloud-native 5G networking, does SD-WAN belong?

Turnium provided the SD-WAN for the experimental Kubecon project — connecting public and private cloud, deploying and using Kubernetes containers to create a seamless virtual network — the invisible underlying infrastructure supporting the experiment.

“At the end of the day, you know Kubernetes is a platform or a tool. SD-WAN is a tool. And if you take all of these tools and put them together, you can actually build something wonderful. That’s what we did in this project here. We were able to deliver a 5G call and run it everywhere.”

— Sandeep Panesar, SVP, Strategic Engagement at Turnium Technology Group Inc.

The project demonstrated the value of a cloud-native SD-WAN platform that can be deployed in containers to support the rapid deployment of centralized functionality, cost-effective networks, and infrastructure for telecoms that spans both public and private clouds.

Learn More about SD-WAN and 5G

At Turnium Technology Group Inc., our goal is to transform the telecommunications industry — connecting everything, everywhere. We invest in and operate SD-WAN solutions providers that help connect the things that matter — people, data, devices and applications. If you have questions about how your organization can leverage the power of SD-WAN, contact our experts today.