Verizon developing new vRAN architecture with Intel, Nokia

Verizon has been exploring vRAN and cloud RAN solutions over the past year. (Verizon)

Verizon announced that it is developing a new virtualized Cloud RAN architecture, with the help of Nokia and Intel. Virtualized RAN enables operators to run baseband unit (BBU) functions on off-the-shelf hardware as virtualized network functions.

Verizon says vRAN systems will help reduce its capex and opex, provide scalable capacity and increase the number of users per cell, thereby lowering its costs per user. It will also enable continuous software delivery to Verizon’s mobile customers.

Verizon has partnered with Nokia and Intel for the project. The announcement follows a successful trial of Verizon’s vRAN 1.0 architecture in Oklahoma City, which used Nokia’s AirScale cloud base station server and Intel’s Xeon scalable processors.

Sponsored by Qualcomm

How Does Support for Unlicensed Spectrum With NR-U Transform What 5G Can Do for You?

Thursday, June 11, 2020 | 12pm ET | 9am PT
Join this webinar to learn how NR-U can help service providers deliver the 5G experience end-users have come to expect, 5G private networks can be deployed without spectrum licenses to address unmet needs and how NR-U brings the power of high-performance 5G to a wider range of industrial Internet of things (IIoT) deployments

AirScale is a hardware-agnostic virtual base station that runs on Verizon’s cloud platform. The three companies are now developing vRAN 2.0 architecture for Verizon, which the operator described as the next step in developing fully virtualized RAN.

“Verizon is committed to furthering innovation within the ecosystem by ensuring deployment flexibility,” said Bill Stone, VP of technology development and planning at Verizon, in a statement.

RelatedSRG’s tests of Verizon’s 28 GHz Houston network show resilience, but gigabit data speeds may be challenging in near term

The announcement is part of a wider initiative, first reported last year, to introduce more efficiencies and cost-savings into its wireless networks. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam announced the company is looking to cut $10 billion in costs by 2022, in part by introducing more virtualization in its network operations.

Verizon has been exploring vRAN and cloud RAN solutions over the past year. Verizon held vRAN trials with Ericsson, and it partnered with Cisco and Samsung for a slate of 5G trials that included Samsung’s virtualized RAN solutions.

In a separate statement at Mobile World Congress, Verizon announced it will be using Samsung’s remote radio heads and BBUs to support Verizon’s 4G LTE Open RAN initiative, which aims to prepare Verizon's networks for virtualized RAN and 5G commercialization.

Read more on

Suggested Articles

New analysis by Ookla provides some morsels of how performance on T-Mobile's new "layer cake" 5G network in NYC looks like.

T-Mobile struck a 5G roaming deal with GCI in Alaska, prompting T-Mobile to claim it’s the first to offer 5G in all 50 states.

Ligado Networks says the NTIA's request for a stay should be null and void.