Ericsson Unveils Open Lab to Drive Network Virtualization

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Ericsson has established the Ericsson Open Lab, a new space to collaborate and innovate with Ericsson Cloud RAN customers and ecosystem partners to drive virtualized 5G Radio Access Networks (RAN) technologies.

Ericsson Open Lab is accessible virtually to customers globally. It is co-located with the company’s Cloud RAN expertise at Ericsson’s R&D site in Ottawa. The company will support these activities from its locations around the world.

Ericsson Open Lab enables fast and interactive collaboration that delivers innovation to complement existing RAN solutions. Ericsson Open Lab also aims to help service providers pursue and realize new deployment and 5G use case scenarios, as well as create opportunities to increase automation and reduce manual intervention. The lab offers space to further explore Open RAN technologies, including aspects such as virtualization, management, and orchestration.

Ericsson Open Lab collaboration is not limited to Ericsson cloud-native infrastructure technology and RAN software advancements on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers and acceleration hardware. It will also seek to foster greater cooperation in areas such as machine learning, network automation and optimization with communications service providers and industry partners. These service providers include KDDI, Ooredoo, Orange, Softbank Corp, Turkcell and ecosystem partners such as Intel, NVIDIA, Red Hat and Wind River. Additional customers and partners will be engaged as Cloud RAN network requirements evolve, enabling new collaborative activities in the Open Lab.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, Ericsson, says: “Open technology underpins the modern mobile miracle, which connects more than eight billion devices today with one set of global operating standards. With Ericsson Open Lab, we invite our customers and partners to co-create and bring new cloud innovations to 5G.

“We have created this collaboration to develop architectures and common operating standards that complement existing 5G ready technology. This initiative will help to test the limits of 5G connectivity, working closely with operators and enterprise customers globally, as the industry continues to adopt more open architectures.”

Ericsson Open Lab features the latest industry cloud native technology supported by collaboration and virtual meeting applications. This will deliver engaging, dynamic, and interactive collaboration experiences for virtual users.

Toshikazu Yokai, Executive Officer, Chief Director of Mobile Technology, KDDI, says: “KDDI is committed to continuous network innovation and the creation of new technologies to bring superior performance to our users. Working with Ericsson in the Open Lab will enable our design and engineering teams to collaborate in real-time and co-develop new virtualized RAN technologies to accelerate the intelligence and agility of our 5G networks.”

Arnaud Vamparys, Senior Vice President, Radio Networks at ‎Orange, says: “In the Open RAN journey, interoperability, cloudification and automation are key topics for Orange. The collaboration with Ericsson, as part of the Open Lab initiative, is allowing us to explore new flexible and innovative technologies like Cloud RAN on COTS hardware for mobile network evolution.”

Ryuji Wakikawa, Vice President, Head of Advanced Technology Division, SoftBank Corp., says: “SoftBank is actively working with global ecosystem partners to realize virtualized RAN technologies. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Ericsson and its Open Lab to accelerate the innovation of building the most advanced mobile infrastructure.”

At the Ottawa site, 100MHz of indoor mid-band spectrum and 60MHz of indoor/outdoor mid-band spectrum is available for testing and co-creation activities. This enables customers and partners to create and test Cloud RAN capabilities based on their own spectral holdings and use case requirements across indoor and outdoor networks.

Fast and interactive collaboration with service providers and ecosystem partners also supports Ericsson’s Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) approach to Cloud RAN technology development. This approach ensures the seamless integration of new features and accelerates the feedback loop and design of new features. This means that software can go live quickly, often within minutes of being developed.

The Open Lab follows on the heels of Ericsson’s announcement of its Cloud RAN product portfolio development. The lab enables further development of Ericsson Cloud RAN solutions on COTS hardware, bringing higher efficiency and flexibility to customer networks.