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DISH, Dell announce Open RAN 5G edge infrastructure first for US

Leading US operator taps IT giant for cloud-native, open 5G radio access network and edge compute technology and announces collaboration on go-to-market strategies for joint edge solutions

US operator DISH Network Corporation has formed a strategic infrastructure agreement with Dell Technologies to support the launch of what it says is the first cloud-native, Open RAN-based 5G network in the country.

The open, cloud-native 5G network is said to have been built from the ground up. In the deployment, Dell will provide DISH’s edge network infrastructure foundation, powering devices, software and solutions to help customers tap into what are seen as the added connectivity and business opportunities made possible by combining 5G and edge computing.

Through their partnership, Dell and DISH have committed to creating private 5G wireless network systems, software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) and multi-access edge cloud (MEC) platforms. Aiming to provide value to a wide range of industries, the companies are working together on a go-to-market strategy to deliver what they describe as “seamless”, simple solutions to drive value for customers at the edge.

They are co-developing technology for Open RAN, SmartNICs, emerging micro-edge colocation, operational automation and other areas of R&D. Joint teams will pursue and create MEC platforms for enterprise and small business opportunities.

Dell and DISH will design the network infrastructure from cell sites to datacentres to deliver better performance, power efficiency and automated operations. DISH will deploy Dell EMC PowerEdge servers at cell tower sites and in centralised RAN locations to tackle the growing demands of edge-based, data-intensive workloads.

Designed to thrive in harsh environments, Dell EMC PowerEdge XR11 ruggedised servers will be used by DISH to support its private cloud and far edge applications, and Dell EMC PowerEdge R740 and R750 servers will support virtualisation and demanding cloud-native workloads.

To ensure use cases run reliably, Dell and DISH will enable advanced machine learning capabilities to monitor the health of the system and to help proactively predict the anomalies that may impact performance or services.

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“By collaborating with Dell Technologies, we will have the hardware and software infrastructure needed to harness the power and potential of 5G,” said DISH chief network officer Marc Rouanne. “Dell’s open ecosystem approach will help us scale our RAN network with agility, speed and consistency, bringing about new business opportunities for both enterprise customers and consumers, completing our cloud strategy.

“We chose to leverage Dell’s technology because they have a demonstrated track record of transforming networks and a willingness to work with us on designing and implementing infrastructure as code. With their help, we are another step closer to deploying the US’s first cloud-native, Open RAN 5G network.”

Dell and DISH are also establishing advanced technology collaboration teams to identify and develop future technologies and investment opportunities. They will collaborate on the roadmap and silicon diversity for 5G RAN and edge infrastructure, focusing on improvements of cost-to-serve, performance density, operational reliability and power consumption of telecom equipment in the 5G network.

Dennis Hoffman, senior vice-president and general manager of Dell Technologies Telecom Systems Business, said: “DISH will connect millions of people and power 5G and edge use cases in industries across healthcare, education, government, retail, manufacturing, banking and beyond.  

“With Dell’s zero-touch provisioning and deployment of containerised RAN network functions, DISH can simplify and automate deployment of software and services across geographic locations. DISH is breaking new ground by building a cloud-native 5G network designed for a future where edge computing and new 5G use cases collide in ways we haven’t thought of yet.”

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