Deutsche Telekom collaborates with VMware and Intel on vRAN platform

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Europe's biggest operator is set to test an open and intelligent virtual radio access network (vRAN) platform, developed by VMware and Intel.

“As the traditional RAN becomes the open RAN, we need to accelerate the development of scalable high-performance open RAN solutions. Our work with VMware and Intel aims to address scalability and related economics for vRAN macro layer deployment,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation (STI), Deutsche Telekom. “Going forward, we plan to work with the open RAN vendor ecosystem to accelerate commercial availability of solutions.”

The Open RAN solution architecture leverages standards-based Intel processors and FlexRAN, a vRAN software reference platform, to run vRAN workloads on top of VMware’s telco cloud platform, optimised for real-time and low latency workloads.

Open partner ecosystem

The solution will also feature a VMware-developed pre-standard, near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) that will adopt O-RAN open interfaces with required enhancements to enable real-time radio resource management capabilities to be delivered as applications on top of the platform. VMware, Deutsche Telekom and Intel are collaborating with an open partner ecosystem to develop this solution, and key initial partners include Cohere Technologies and Mavenir.

“This solution brings the promise of RAN to the forefront for today’s LTE networks and tomorrow’s 5G networks,” said Shekar Ayyar, executive vice president and general manager, telco and edge cloud, VMware. “In a 5G world, the RAN needs to become software-defined in order to meet the needs of CSPs, and what we’re proposing with this open and intelligent vRAN platform will do exactly that.”

“Virtualising the RAN is an important step in the 5G future that will enable innovative services at the edge. Through this collaboration we aim to demonstrate how standards-based hardware and software can accelerate new types of network deployments,” commented Cristina Rodriguez, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Wireless Access Network Division.