Intel and VMware are working together on an integrated software platform for virtualized Radio Access Networks (RAN). Their collaboration seeks to simplify the steps and reduce the integration effort involved in creating virtualized RAN solutions.
For their collaboration, the partners will use Intel’s FlexRAN software reference architecture and a VMware RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) for developers to create radio network functions for things such as real-time resource management, traffic steering and dynamic slicing as well as new 5G vertical use cases.
Intel and VMware will work with telecom equipment manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers and RAN software vendors to help service providers more easily build on top of the vRAN platform to address specific use cases.
Many service providers have already virtualized their core networks and a lot of them use VMware’s technology, including its telco cloud platform. “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, in a statement.
Dan Rodriguez, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel’s Network Platforms Group, added, “Many communication service providers are choosing to extend the benefits of network virtualization into the RAN for increased agility as they roll out new 5G services, but the software integration can be rather complex.”
Deutsche Telekom is currently validating a vRAN system architected by VMware and Intel that is optimized for real-time, low latency RAN workloads for both existing LTE and future 5G networks.
Vodafone Group is also 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…has the potential to ensure open RAN matures more quickly.”
VMware is a brand of Dell Technologies. Speaking with FierceWireless earlier this year, John Roese, CTO of Dell Technologies, said, “The current 5G ecosystem is structurally challenged. A few traditional telecom providers dominate. Most tier 1 operators are using the components from the traditional telecom ecosystem. They are also trying to virtualize their core and RAN, taking technologies from the IT and cloud world. Dell has been on a journey to help modernize these architectures. We’re working with Vodafone, AT&T and Orange, helping them virtualize their cores, lifting their traditional EPCs [evolved packet cores], turning them into software that runs on data center architecture.”
Roese added, “In the last year we have become more vocal on the RAN.”