Intel and VMware extend virtualisation to Radio Access Network through broadened collaboration for 5G

The pair will work with a rich ecosystem of players, including telecom equipment manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers and RAN software vendors, to help CoSPs more easily build on top of the vRAN platform to address specific use cases
VMware, Intel, 5G, RAN, Networks

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Intel and VMware have announced they are collaborating on an integrated software platform for virtualised Radio Access Networks (RAN) to accelerate the rollout of both existing LTE and future 5G networks. As communications service providers (CoSPs) evolve their networks to support the rollout of future 5G networks, they are increasingly adopting a software-defined, virtualised infrastructure. Virtualisation of the core network has already enabled CoSPs to improve operational costs and bring services to market faster. This expanded collaboration between Intel and VMware aims to offer CoSPs reduced development cycles and scale across multiple designs.

Many CoSPs are embracing the idea of having open and disaggregated RAN architectures that can give them added flexibility and choice, as well as programmability to create and deploy new services that require fine grained radio resource control and dynamic slicing to provide differentiated experiences such as cloud gaming and cloud controlled robotics. This collaboration seeks to simplify the steps and reduce the integration effort involved in creating deployable virtualised RAN solutions.

Intel and VMware will work with a rich ecosystem, including telecom equipment manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers and RAN software vendors, to help CoSPs more easily build on top of the vRAN platform to address specific use cases. As part of this effort, Intel and VMware will collaborate in building programmable open interfaces that leverage Intel’s FlexRAN software reference architecture and a VMware Ran Intelligent Controller (RIC), to enable development of innovative radio network functions using AI/ML learning for real time resource management, traffic steering and dynamic slicing. This in turn will assist in optimised QoE for rollout of new 5G vertical use cases.

“Many CoSPs are choosing to extend the benefits of network virtualisation into the RAN for increased agility as they roll out new 5G services, but the software integration can be rather complex. With an integrated vRAN platform, combined with leading technology and expertise from Intel VMware, CoSPs are positioned to benefit from accelerated time to deployment of innovative services at the edge of their network,” explained Dan Rodriguez, corporate vice president and general manager, Network Platforms Group, Intel.

“CoSPs around the globe rely on VMware’s Telco Cloud platform to deploy and manage myriad core network functions. As they look to extend their software-defined infrastructure out to the RAN, there are tremendous benefits to delivering all network functions on a single platform,” said Shekar Ayyar, executive vice president and general manager, Telco and Edge Cloud, VMware. “With an integrated platform, CoSPs will be able to deploy new network functions across the same Telco Cloud architecture, from core to RAN, enabling the scale and agility needed to deliver services across a 5G network more efficiently.”

Intel and VMware are working closely with CoSPs, as well as telecom equipment manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers and RAN software vendors, to accelerate their time to market as they deliver virtualised solutions.

Deutsche Telekom, one of the world's leading integrated telecommunications companies based in Bonn, Germany, is already testing a vRAN solution architected by VMware and Intel that is optimized for real-time, low latency workloads. Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation (STI), Deutsche Telekom, said, “We are in the validation phase of our work with VMware and Intel on our vRAN platform deployment, which we believe can bring agility to radio access networks (RANs) for both existing LTE and future 5G networks. It is encouraging to see Intel and VMware expand their partnership to bring the value of open and virtualised RAN solutions to CoSPs around the globe.”

Vodafone Group, a global telecommunications company with mobile operations in 25 countries and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets, is working with VMware to support its global rollout of virtual network functions. Yago Tenorio, Head of Network Architecture for Vodafone Group, said: “Seeing VMware and Intel work together to enhance the performance of general purpose computing platforms to run uncompromised RAN workflows, and to help simplify the complexities of product integration, has the potential to ensure OPEN RAN matures more quickly. It is also an enabler for faster developments in the Radio Intelligent Controller (RIC) area. This move is central to the Vodafone initial OPEN RAN vision of partners that, excel in our area, as well as benefit the wider community.”

As a global leader in technology innovation and business transformation, Dell Technologies has extensive experience in offering full-stack, customised IT solutions to the telecommunications industry and is helping network operators deliver new products and services faster and more efficiently. “Communication service providers want to implement cloud operating models and disaggregate their networks through the adoption of software-defined infrastructure on industry-standard hardware,” said Dennis Hoffman, general manager, Dell Technologies Telco Business Unit. “Using Dell’s compute portfolio along with this integrated platform from VMware and Intel allows us to address their needs in a more agile way.”

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