Ericsson teams with Intel and HPE for first Cloud RAN call

Comms tech provider claims industry first in accelerating the availability of Cloud RAN advancements, enabling improved network capacity, performance and energy efficiency

Marking a significant step towards a fully commercialised cloud-based radio access network (Cloud RAN) solution that will help communications service providers increase network capacity and energy efficiency while gaining greater flexibility and scalability, Ericsson, Intel and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have successfully demonstrated Ericsson’s Cloud RAN solution on 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

The Ericsson Cloud RAN is said to be the industry’s first virtualised solution of its kind to be successfully demonstrated and ready to deploy on the new Intel processors with vRAN Boost capability. The partners said the technology milestone comes at a timely moment, with increasing interest in virtualisation and cloud-native technologies in 5G RAN and beyond.

The companies say radio access networks (RAN) come with a unique set of requirements, especially the extreme demand on processing in the compute platform of Cloud RAN. To address these processing needs, acceleration technology is required, like those found in the latest generation Intel Xeon processors. Such processors include advanced features that optimise workload performance for packet and signal processing, load balancing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the implementation of dynamic power management.

The collaboration between Ericsson, Intel and HPE is also ongoing at development labs globally, including the Open Lab in Ottawa, Canada, and the joint Ericsson – Intel Tech Hub in Santa Clara, California.

Carried out at Ericsson’s Open Lab in Ottawa, the first end-to-end Cloud RAN call on 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors with Intel vRAN Boost on the HPE ProLiant DL110 server marks a significant step forward in helping service providers meet the diverse needs for more open, resilient, sustainable and intelligent mobile networks.

The HPE ProLiant DL110 server is workload optimised for edge applications that require low power, high bandwidth and low latency, such as 5G cellular processing (vRAN). In addition, the server is open and standards compliant. It is a carrier-grade infrastructure that offers dense input/output capabilities with PCI2 Gen4 speed, acceleration and compute driven by the 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

“This achievement shows our commitment to driving Open RAN forward, with our high-performing Cloud RAN solution and extensive support of the larger ecosystem,” explained David Hammarwall, head of product area networks at Ericsson.

“Working with partners like Intel and HPE, we are actively promoting open standards and delivering intelligent and sustainable solutions for future networks. It is also a testament to the strong partnership between our companies, as we have worked closely to test pre-released technology and interoperability. It brings us a step closer to meeting our goal of faster time to market and high-quality offerings for customers to deliver high-performing Cloud RAN networks,” he added.

“Achieving this significant milestone with Ericsson and HPE is possible only through open industry collaboration,” added Dan Rodriguez, corporate vice-president and general manager of the network and edge solutions group at Intel. “Strong ecosystem engagements like this are absolutely critical to drive global innovation and commercial deployments at scale. Virtualisation of the RAN is the next major transformation as we work to advance mobile networks into the future.”

Phil Cutrone, senior vice-president and general manager of service providers, OEM and telco at HPE, remarked: “We’re excited to work with Ericsson and Intel to advance Open RAN innovation for operators and enterprises, with the promise of increased network capacity, energy efficiency, flexibility and scalability. The HPE ProLiant DL110 Cloud RAN optimised server provides Ericsson and our joint telco customers with the ideal platform to deploy Cloud RAN technology while also addressing telco challenges with respect to power and performance.”

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