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Dell makes push to simplify and accelerate modern, open telco deployments

IT giant announces validated designs for telecommunications edge and core to offer more choice and speed for network modernisation

Dell Technologies has unveiled a major push into the telecommunications sector with solutions and services to bolster the open telecoms ecosystem and provide a pathway for rapid and affordable transformation to open, cloud-native networks.

Explaining the reasons for its move, the IT giant said the telecommunications industry’s growing open ecosystem gives communications service providers (CSPs) more choice in their technologies and partners as they modernise to cloud-native networks. It added that CSPs need the various technologies of such an open ecosystem to work together to offer differentiated edge services and reduce costs.

Dell said it was aiming to remove complexity and speed modern network deployments with its Dell Telecom Cloud Foundation, Dell Open RAN Accelerator and new telecoms solutions and lab capabilities.

“Communications service providers are changing how they build and deploy open networks, so they can develop innovative services that capture the edge opportunity,” said Dennis Hoffman, senior vice-president and general manager, Dell Technologies Telecom Systems Business. “Our expanded telecoms solutions portfolio gives network operators the speed and simplicity they need to quickly modernise their networks and monetise new services.”

The company first announced edge and RAN offers in October 2021, unveiling a suite of edge solutions across its infrastructure and PC portfolio to help organisations simplify deployments and capture more value from data generated and processed outside the traditional datacentre and public cloud. To support what it expected to be a massive growth of data from 5G applications and services as CSPs move compute infrastructure to the edge, Dell also introduced advances in Open RAN.

The new range has at its heart the Dell Telecom Multi-Cloud Foundation, a turnkey, end-to-end, modern network infrastructure solution designed to help CSPs build and deploy open, cloud-native networks faster with lower cost and complexity. The Telecom Multi-Cloud Foundation includes Dell hardware, Dell Bare Metal Orchestrator management software and the CSPs’ choice of integrated telecoms cloud software platforms, including Red Hat, VMware and Wind River.

Dell is also adding new Dell Bare Metal Orchestrator Modules to its software, giving the ability to deploy and lifecycle manage an entire cloud foundation stack. Once implemented, CSPs will have a scalable cloud foundation spanning core, edge and RAN for their open hardware and software environment with the flexibility to design and deploy open network functions and differentiated edge services.

Outlining what the real-world benefits could be, Dell cited ACG Research estimates of up to 39% savings in operational costs for CSPs deploying the Telecom Multi-Cloud Foundation in their networks. ACG Research found CSPs would also save time on server provisioning, software upgrades, and cloud stack integration and testing.

Dell Validated Design for Services Edge 1.2 brings together edge compute resources with private wireless connectivity, aiming to give enterprises the easy deployment, scalable operations and security capabilities required for large numbers of edge locations. Enterprises can place sensors and devices at the edge of mobile networks to capture and process data in near-real time, and use the data to generate insights, optimise operations and help increase productivity. The open standards-based design now supports Airspan 5G RAN for a fast deployment of enterprise private 5G networks.

With the introduction of virtualised and Open RAN architectures, Dell believes 5G networks are undergoing a transformation that brings cloud scalability to the radio access network. Yet it regards existing virtualised and Open RAN alternatives as having lacked the performance of established networks, hindering the ability for CSPs to implement cloud-native 5G.  
Developed in collaboration with semiconductor firm Marvell, the Dell Open RAN Accelerator Card is a new inline 5G Layer 1 processing card for vRAN and Open RAN solutions. Designed for Dell PowerEdge and other x86-based servers, the PCIe accelerator card is claimed to bring the same Marvell baseband silicon technology and performance of current leading 5G radio networks to the Open RAN ecosystem. The result is said to be better performing systems that lower cost and power consumption, allowing CSPs to affordably scale high-performing, modern radio access networks with an open architecture approach. 
“We’re pleased to see Dell Technologies and Marvell come together to innovate and create technologies that will enhance Open RAN platform capability and vendor diversity for operators,” said Andy Dunkin, Open RAN RF and digital platform development manager at CSP Vodafone. “The promise of virtualised Open RAN platforms will be enhanced with the Dell Open Ran Accelerator Card that should offer network operators like Vodafone a less costly and more efficient path to Open RAN.”

The new Dell products will be available from March 2022, beginning with the Dell Validated Design for Services Edge 1.2 and the Bare Metal Orchestrator Module for VMware Telco Cloud Platform a month later and the rest through this summer.

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