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VMware Paves a Path for Radio Access Network Modernisation

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VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN Extends the Benefits of Network Disaggregation and Virtualisation from the Core to the RAN

SYDNEY, Australia. – April 28, 2021 – Communication service providers (CSPs) are modernising their networks as quickly as they can to bring new 5G services to customers. First with the core—the heart of the network. And now further out to the edge. They want to bring the benefits of the cloud to the parts of the network that connect mobile phones and other wireless devices back to the core. That’s why VMware (NYSE: VMW) is today announcing VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN. It is a platform that enables CSPs to virtualise radio access network (RAN) functions and implement an open RAN architecture.

“A modern, open, and disaggregated RAN offers CSPs the single best opportunity to rapidly monetize 5G services,” said Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider and Edge, VMware. “New 5G services rely on CSPs to be able to host apps at the edge, close to end customers. A virtualised and open RAN allows CSPs to deliver these new edge services to customers directly from RAN sites. With Telco Cloud Platform RAN, we accelerate the disaggregation of the proprietary RAN and enable CSPs to modernise their RAN so they can monetise the 5G services they deliver across their network.”

A Path for RAN Modernisation

VMware Telco Cloud Platform lets CSPs quickly deploy and efficiently run virtualised network functions (VNFs) and containerised network functions (CNFs). And it lets them do so with agility and scalability across 5G networks. VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN takes the VMware Telco Cloud Platform for the core and extends it to the RAN. It helps CSPs virtualise RAN functions on a platform specifically optimised for the RAN and with support for Intel FlexRAN software reference architecture.

This same platform can also be used for Open RAN (O-RAN). It gives CSPs the flexibility to evolve to the future – from traditional RAN to virtualised RAN (vRAN) to O-RAN – without having to disrupt their operations or overhaul their network design.

“The transformation of the RAN will significantly change how operators purchase, construct, and maintain their mobile networks. It presents a significant economic opportunity and will allow for the introduction of new capabilities and expand the pool of solution providers. We forecast the convergence of openness and virtualisation will generate around $3.4 billion in annual revenues by 2025, giving it about 9.5% of the total 4G and 5G RAN market1,” said Daryl Schoolar, Practice Leader, Fixed and Mobile Infrastructure, Omdia. “But before we get there, operators must figure out how to transition from legacy solutions to open and virtualised architectures without disrupting their services – quite a task. VMware, with its history of helping operators make this transition in other parts of the network, is in a strong position to support operators as they make this transition with their radio access networks.”

Telco Cloud Platform RAN helps customers:

  • Achieve cloud-first automation by programmatically provisioning network functions across distributed vRAN sites, no matter what workloads they host. It gives CSPs the flexibility and efficiency to deploy vRAN functions wherever they are needed. And it helps connect siloed parts of the network. When combined with consistent operations across the Telco Cloud, it simplifies operations and lets CSPs quickly scale and tailor their 5G services for specific enterprise use cases.
  • Accelerate monetisation by quickly introducing new 5G and edge services. Powered with VMware’s open ecosystem of partners and technologies, such as Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) and network slicing, which are faster and let CSPs more easily serve different industries and verticals.
  • Keep networks safe as CSPs have a huge number of new vRAN sites and devices connecting to the RAN. It lets CSPs apply consistent security policies to all their RAN sites to help reduce the chance of configuration errors or other changes that can put them at risk. With VMware’s intrinsic security approach, each vRAN function is also isolated within the virtualisation layer. This keeps them separate from other systems and further protected.

“Our entire 5G network will be cloud-native, and we will leverage the VMware Telco Cloud Platform to adopt an O-RAN architecture for all RAN sites,” said Marc Rouanne, executive vice president and chief network officer, DISH. “We are working with the best hardware and software providers and VMware is helping us achieve this vision. We believe this path will enable us to deliver amazing experiences and services to our customers faster and more efficiently.”

Under the Hood
VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN has been optimised for Intel’s FlexRAN software reference architecture.
The platform consists of:

  • VMware vSphere ESXi. Optimised for the deployment and management of virtualised and containerised RAN functions.VMware vSphere ESXi. Optimised for the deployment and management of virtualised and containerised RAN functions.
  • VMware Tanzu for Telco. Takes VMware’s standards-compliant distribution of Kubernetes for container orchestration and enhances it with telco features. This delivers the scalability, performance, and availability that CSPs need in service.
  • VMware Telco Cloud Automation. A cloud-first, vendor neutral way to orchestrate infrastructure, containers as a service (CaaS), and telco network functions and services. It also automates their management across any network and any cloud.

“5G is fueling rapid transition to virtualisation and cloud-native technologies, and communications service providers are seeking network infrastructure solutions to help them quickly and efficiently get to market as well as capture the enormous opportunities in front of them,” said Dan Rodriguez, corporate vice president and general manager, Network Platforms Group, Intel. “Our collaboration with VMware in this area began more than a year ago and bringing it to fruition with the VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN will help our mutual customers achieve greater agility as they evolve their RAN to deliver new 5G and edge services.”

It Takes A Village to Disrupt an Industry

To maximise performance and improve resource utilisation, VMware tests and integrates its RAN-optimised platform with key RAN vendors. It partners with industry-leading system integrators. And it builds in its virtualisation and cloud-native expertise. All to make VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN a compelling RAN solution for CSPs for both today and tomorrow.

Thierry Maupile, executive vice president of strategy and product management at Altiostar, said, “Open and virtual RAN architectures are the result of innovation around openness, programmability, and automation. This vision can only be achieved through collaboration among a growing ecosystem of partners. Altiostar and VMware have brought our solutions closer together through in-depth integration testing and validation of our Open vRAN software with the Telco Cloud Platform RAN.”

Bejoy Pankajakshan Chief Strategy Officer at Mavenir, said, “Mavenir is building the future of networks with cloud-native software that runs on any cloud and transforms the way the world connects. Working with VMware’s Telco Cloud Platform as a common infrastructure platform, Mavenir will continue to deliver Open RAN, vRAN and other 5G components to empower Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and enterprises to transform their businesses toward 5G.”

Kraig Ecker, senior vice president of global service providers at WWT, said, “As the industry moves toward 5G, RAN will become increasingly software-driven and built with a variety of vendors. This brings added complexity to consuming this transformational technology and places an added emphasis on supply chain and integration services. By combining WWT’s IT consulting and services with VMware’s Telco Cloud Platform, we are well positioned to help service providers navigate their network transformation.”

David Trigg, vice president of market development at Dell Technologies, said,“Open architectures mark the future for communications service providers as it gives them the freedom to work with the best and brightest in the industry. Combining our enterprise leadership in open infrastructure with VMware’s software and Intel’s vRAN architecture, we are providing CSPs with a strong foundation to accelerate innovation while partnering with them to fast-track their business opportunities.”

Where to Learn More

To learn more about Telco Cloud Platform RAN:

Source: 1. Omdia Mobile Infrastructure Market Tracker -€“ 4Q2020

VMware, vSphere, ESXi, and Tanzu are registered trademarks or trademarks of VMware, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other jurisdictions.

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Rachel Beauchamp

Senior Manager Communications, VMware ANZ