KDDI further extends 5G Open RAN network with Wind River virtualised base station

Japanese operator advances base stations within next-generation infrastructure, delivering open radio network access in commercial deployment

Days after announcing that it had turned on in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, what it said was the first commercial 5G standalone (SA) deployment using open and virtualised radio access network (Open RAN, vRAN) technology, Japanese operator KDDI has revealed that it has used Wind River Studio for its O-RAN-compliant 5G SA virtualised base station technology, which was recently launched on its commercial 5G network.

As the presence of the new technology was announced, Wind River, a provider of software for mission-critical intelligent systems, noted that the growth of 5G, artificial intelligence, automation and cloud-native technologies had opened new possibilities for applications at the far edge, such as robotics, drones and autonomous vehicles. It cited recent research from Forbes that found 90% of telecom leaders believe more than 50% of their offerings will need to work on the far edge cloud within three years.

The Wind River Studio provides a cloud-native platform for the development, deployment, operations and servicing of mission-critical intelligent systems. Its cloud infrastructure capabilities include a fully cloud-native, Kubernetes- and container-based architecture, based on the StarlingX open source project, for distributed edge networks at scale.

Addressing the complexities of deploying and managing cloud-native vRAN infrastructure, Wind River aims to deliver a foundation for a geographically distributed, managed solution able to simplify day 1 and day 2 operations by providing single-pane-of-glass, zero-touch automated management of nodes, no matter their physical location.

“5G opens up new opportunities, with greater intelligence and compute moving toward the edges of the network,” said Avijit Sinha, chief product officer at Wind River. “Much of our future will be run on a virtualised, distributed cloud with low-latency, far edge cloud architecture to support new use cases in the new intelligent machine economy.

“We are able to provide solutions to help prepare for a cloud-native future and deliver on high-reliability, ultra-low-latency, and highly efficient solutions for next-generation networks.”

KDDI regards 5G technology as capable of powering new applications and use cases, such as extended reality (XR), real-time services in the manufacturing sector – such as the collection of sensor data, remote operation and factory automation – and connected services in the transportation sector, such as automated vehicles and traffic management.

While it says the number of connected devices and mobile data traffic consumption are growing exponentially, due to the increase in usage, the company believes it is more important to build a network infrastructure quickly and cost-effectively.

The operator is installing virtualisation and O-RAN technology to replace dedicated hardware with software elements that can run on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. KDDI believes this approach will bring flexibility and agility to its network, allowing the operator to offer enhanced mobile services to its users.

“We are pleased to announce that we have developed a 5G virtualised base station that complies with the O-RAN standard and has launched on our commercial network,” said Kazuyuki Yoshimura, managing executive officer, director, technology sector at KDDI. “KDDI aims to provide customers advanced communication services with flexibility and speed that meet usage needs with open and virtualised base stations.

“KDDI will continue to lead the development of innovative network technologies and provide customers with safe and secure communications and new value-added experiences.”

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