Nokia, AWS to enable cloud-based 5G radio solutions

Nokia has signed an agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to research and enable Cloud RAN (vRAN) and Open RAN technologies to support the development of new customer-focused 5G solutions.

The collaboration, which will be conducted at Nokia’s facilities, aims to develop innovative proof of concepts (PoC) to explore and enable Cloud RAN and related technologies. Nokia is pursuing a strategy of collaborating with AWS to extend the reach of its Cloud RAN technologies in support of 5G deployments and the development of new use cases.

5G Innovations

The initiative will see engineering teams from both companies research how the combination of Nokia’s RAN (Radio Access Network), Open RAN, Cloud RAN and edge solutions can operate seamlessly with AWS Outposts.

This collaboration will enable communications service providers (CSPs) and enterprises with 5G connectivity to utilize AWS across the topology of the mobile network. Operators will be able to simplify the network virtualization and platform layers for the Core and RAN network functions by leveraging the agility and scalability of cloud. This will also enable enterprises to achieve their desired business outcomes for new 5G use cases developed by AWS ISV Partners.

AWS offers its customers a comprehensive suite of on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs on a pay-as-you-go basis. This collaboration will allow Nokia to leverage AWS services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), AWS Outposts, AWS Local Zones, and other related services for automating network functionality, or end customer application deployment, scaling, and management.

The collaboration will cover three distinct areas. First, the project will focus on onboarding and validating Nokia’s 5G vDU (virtualized distributed unit) on AWS Outposts using Amazon EKS for far edge cloud or on-premises deployments. The second area will examine the implementation of Nokia’s 5G vCU (virtualized centralized unit) with AWS Outposts, AWS Local Zones, using Amazon EKS as a cloud native deployment. The third part of the collaboration will build a proof of concept for an end-to-end solution with Nokia’s 5G Cloud RAN and 5G standalone Core network running on AWS, where end enterprise users can leverage 5G for use cases such as an industrial application.

As part of this collaboration, Nokia will run AWS EKS Anywhere on the Nokia AirFrame Open Edge server. Nokia AirFrame Open Edge distributes computing capacity into the edge of the network and drives the implementation of Cloud RAN, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) as well as 5G.

Nokia is accelerating its Open RAN and Cloud RAN leadership by leveraging its advanced equipment portfolio and combining it with the cloud. By collaborating with AWS, Nokia aims to expand the ecosystem of partners and drive end user business outcomes essential for monetizing 5G deployments.

Dr. Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation, DT, said: “Deutsche Telekom is on a journey to transform to a new open, disaggregated, and cloud-native infrastructure with an automated production model. This collaboration which combines Nokia’s leadership in 5G Open RAN and Cloud RAN with AWS’s cloud platform capabilities and customer centricity can help to accelerate that journey. The expansion of cloud-native network functions and automation to the RAN will enable new agility and use-cases in the 5G era.”

Dave Brown, Vice President, Amazon EC2, AWS, said: “This collaboration with Nokia will extend the reach of our industry-leading cloud technology to support our Telco and enterprise customers. We look forward to working closely on this collaboration and offer multiple deployment choices for customers to build 5G Cloud RAN and Open RAN solutions. Our customers will benefit from different options to run 5G RAN using AWS Outposts with either Intel or ARM-based CPU choices, or third-party bare metal servers while using Amazon EKS and EKS Anywhere. This will solve for the challenge of CI/CD, automation, and network orchestration by using a common framework of tools across Core and RAN.”

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, commented: “This is a critically important collaboration and the continuation of Nokia’s Cloud RAN leadership. At Nokia we are committed to supporting our customers and giving them the flexibility and elasticity they need on the network edge. We are building an ecosystem of public cloud partners that will ultimately support our customers and help them to build compelling 5G use cases.”