Intel and VMware signal expansion of VRAN and Open RAN spaces

Intel and VMware announced their partnership for a software platform for virtualized Radio Access Networks (RAN) to assist telecoms for speeding up the rolling out of LTE and 5G networks.
5G spectrum auction in DutchTelecoms such as Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Group are in the process of adopting a software-defined, virtualized infrastructure to support the rollout of 5G networks.

Virtualization of the core network has already enabled CSPs to improve operational costs and bring services to market faster.

The collaboration between Intel and VMware aims to offer CSPs reduced development cycles and scale across multiple designs.

Many SPs will be opting for open and disaggregated RAN architectures that can give them 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 virtualized RAN solutions,” Dan Rodriguez, corporate vice president and general manager, Network Platforms Group, Intel, said.

Intel and VMware will work with telecom equipment manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers and RAN software vendors to help SPs build on top of the vRAN platform to address specific use cases.

The announcement by Intel and VMWare signals that the VRAN and Open RAN spaces are rapidly expanding, Dimitris Mavrakis, research director at tech market advisory firm, ABI Research, said.

ABI Research said the two companies are partnering to create a horizontal software platform on which existing companies and new entrants can focus on innovating, rather than spend effort and capital to create these platforms themselves.

“As CSPs look to extend their software-defined infrastructure out to the RAN, there are benefits to delivering all network functions on a single platform,” said Shekar Ayyar, executive vice president and general manager, Telco and Edge Cloud, VMware.

Deutsche Telekom is already testing a vRAN solution architected by VMware and Intel that is optimized for real-time, low latency workloads.

“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,” Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation (STI), Deutsche Telekom, said.

Vodafone Group is working with VMware to support its global rollout of virtual network functions.

“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,” Yago Tenorio, head of Network Architecture for Vodafone Group, said.