Ericsson has extended its Cloud RAN (Radio Access Network) offering to include support for 5G mid-band and Massive MIMO deployments. With mid-band spectrum, communications service providers can capitalize on their 5G spectral assets to roll out services quickly and efficiently, while delivering a more responsive experience to mobile broadband users.
These latest enhancements to Ericsson’s portfolio were developed in close collaboration with customers such as Verizon. They will enable service providers to seamlessly evolve towards cloud-native technologies and open network architectures and meet the demand for more deployment flexibility. Service providers will also be able to extend Ericsson Cloud RAN reach with seven million 5G-ready Ericsson Radio System radios already in the field globally.
Since the introduction of Ericsson Cloud RAN at the end of last year, Ericsson has the capability to introduce a virtualized RAN solution across all deployment scenarios including existing footprints – also known as ‘bluefield deployments’. Bluefield deployments enable service providers to deploy Cloud RAN into their networks and capitalize on the full interworking between the two network architectures. This is driven by Ericsson Cloud Link, which enables value-add network technologies such as Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, Uplink Booster and Carrier Aggregation to operate across platforms.
Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, Ericsson, says: “We aim to constantly develop the best technologies by working closely with our customers. We continue investing in technology to stay ahead and deliver a high-performing and cost-effective portfolio, as evidenced by our latest releases. Now we are bringing this high performance to Cloud RAN with the vision that our customers can deploy cloud-native networks, virtually everywhere, on any cloud, and server platform.“
Joe Madden, Chief Analyst, Mobile Experts, says: “What Ericsson is doing goes beyond stacking new technologies above existing radio access. Instead, Ericsson raises innovative possibilities for performance gains by combining Cloud RAN mid-band with seven million Ericsson Radio System radios in the field. The coordinated use of virtualized RAN and pre-integrated radios involves optimization and interoperability between generations, which should reduce overall lifetime cost for operators.”
Boosting Cloud RAN performance with Intel
A high-performing mid-band 5G deployment requires 150 times more compute power than 4G, in half the time. With the addition of hardware accelerators to deliver part of this needed compute power, cloud infrastructure becomes a feasible option for mid-band deployments. To meet the high-performance standards in 5G and beyond, Ericsson and Intel are pioneering the Cloud RAN space together.
Ericsson Cloud RAN creates more options for communications service providers and delivers a truly cloud agnostic platform, supported by its long-term strategic partner, Intel. The portfolio will leverage Intel’s compute – across multiple product generations of Intel Xeon Scalable processors and accelerator technology, to enable high-density capacity solutions. This enables both companies to deliver the type of performance seen in the most demanding RAN environments in the world.
Navin Shenoy, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Data Platforms Group, Intel, says: ”Intel’s technologies such as Xeon processors have fueled the massive growth of the cloud and are now playing a pivotal role in vRAN momentum. Our long-standing partnership with Ericsson is entering an exciting new phase with the shared goal of unleashing richer user experiences with 5G.”
Collaborating with open innovation ecosystems
The emergence of virtualized and distributed computing architectures, together with disaggregation of hardware and software, has reinforced the value of open innovation ecosystems. Ericsson Cloud RAN is designed to be cloud agnostic with supplementary cloud integration services to facilitate the onboarding to the service provider’s cloud infrastructure of choice.
To deliver that value and building on the foundation laid with Intel, Ericsson is also working with ecosystem partners, including industry-leading IT infrastructure vendors such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). This collaboration brings additional flexibility to Cloud RAN deployments, as Ericsson customers will now also have an option to select HPE workload optimized edge compute based on HPE ProLiant servers and any cloud platform to deploy their Cloud RAN networks.