NEC Demos vRAN and 5G Core virtual User Plane Function products

NEC Corporation alongside Arm, Qualcomm Technologies, Red Hat, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has achieved a significant milestone in the advancement of 5G network infrastructure.
NEC for 5G networkThey demonstrated the operation of NEC’s Open virtual Radio Access Network (vRAN) and 5G Core virtual User Plane Function (vUPF) products. This demonstration utilized HPE ProLiant servers powered by Arm Neoverse-based CPUs and the Qualcomm X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card, alongside Red Hat OpenShift, in conditions simulating a commercial environment.

The collaboration resulted in the integration of a demonstrable solution optimized for total cost of ownership (TCO) and power efficiency, catering to both edge and data center environments. NEC’s Open vRAN and 5G Core vUPF, deployed on the same server as the virtual Central Unit (vCU), are cloud-native applications of carrier-grade quality. They adhere to O-RAN Alliance and 3GPP standards, ensuring compatibility and flexibility across multiple servers and virtualization platforms.

The new solution features the HPE ProLiant RL300 Gen11 servers equipped with Arm Neoverse-based processors and the Qualcomm X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card. This utilization of an in-line accelerator exemplifies the capabilities of Open RAN in fostering a multi-vendor landscape, promoting modern network equipment, and enabling workload-optimized compute independent of CPU architecture.

By showcasing call processing and packet communication under conditions equivalent to those found in commercial environments, and employing Arm-based servers and the X100 accelerator to enhance power and space efficiency, the demonstration underscores the expanded applications of Arm-based servers. It confirms the potential to significantly reduce TCO for mobile networks, marking a significant step forward in the evolution of 5G infrastructure.

Andy Dunkin, Open RAN RF & Digital Platform Development Manager at Vodafone, highlighted the maturity of Arm-based architecture, combined with high-quality NEC vRAN and acceleration from Qualcomm, as evidence of ongoing progress in the interoperability of Open RAN software and hardware.

NEC’s solution, along with further insights, will be showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2024.

Eddie Ramirez, Vice President of go-to-market, Infrastructure Line of Business at Arm, emphasized the significance of Open RAN and virtualization in enabling new architectures and compute options for telecommunications companies.

Gerardo Giaretta, Vice President of Product Management at Qualcomm Technologies, emphasized its validation of the performance and power efficiency capabilities of the Qualcomm X100 5G RAN accelerator card.

Red Hat’s Acting Senior Vice President, Global Telco, and Vice President, Telco Partner Ecosystem, Honore LaBourdette, underscored the importance of collaboration in delivering sustainable network operations in the era of 5G innovation.

Phil Cutrone, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Service Providers, OEM, and Telco at HPE, expressed excitement about the collaboration with NEC and highlighted the role of HPE ProLiant RL300 Gen11 servers in offering an open and power-efficient platform for telco environments.

Katsumi Tanoue, General Manager of the Global Mobile Solution Department at NEC, hailed the demonstration as a testament to the energy-efficient and competitive RAN solutions facilitated by the collaboration between the latest hardware technologies and carrier-grade Open RAN software.

The success of this demonstration experiment was made possible through the contributions of Juniper Networks and Viavi Solutions.