Intel ($INTC) and VMware ($VMW) are collaborating on an integrated software platform for virtualized Radio Access Networks (RAN). The Intel-VMware relationship is designed to accelerate the rollout of both existing LTE and future 5G networks, the two technology companies say.
They’re not the only large technology vendors chasing opportunity in the 5G space; carriers like T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T continue to roll out 5G technology and infrastructure improvements and big tech races to innovate on top of those advancements.
Recently, Dish Network announced it would use VMware’s Telco Cloud to power it’s open RAN-based 5G network, and Google’s newest phone lineup includes two Pixel models, slated for release this fall, that will include 5G capability.
Partnership will Accelerate 5G Innovation
Communications service providers (CoSPs) are increasingly adopting a software-defined, virtualized infrastructure to support future 5G networks, and the collaboration aims to simplify integration efforts, reduce costs and speed up development cycles, VMware and Intel say.
Many CoSPs are embracing open and disaggregated RAN architectures that can enable fine-grained radio resource control and dynamic slicing for services like cloud gaming and cloud controlled robotics, according to the statement. Intel and VMware said they plan to work with telecom equipment manufacturers, OEMs and RAN software vendors to help CoSPs more easily build on top of the vRAN platform to address specific use cases like these.
Finding New Use Cases
In the statement, Intel and VMware said they will collaborate in building programmable open interfaces that leverage Intel’s FlexRAN software reference architecture and a VMware RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), to enable development of innovative radio network functions using AI/ML learning for real time resource management, traffic steering and dynamic slicing. This will assist in optimized QoE for rollout of new 5G vertical use cases.
“Many CoSPs 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. With an integrated vRAN platform, combined with leading technology and expertise from Intel VMware, CoSPs are positioned to benefit from accelerated time to deployment of innovative services at the edge of their network,” explained Dan Rodriguez, corporate vice president and general manager, Network Platforms Group, Intel.
“[T]here 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. “With an integrated platform, CoSPs will be able to deploy new network functions across the same Telco Cloud architecture, from core to RAN, enabling the scale and agility needed to deliver services across a 5G network more efficiently.”