RAN is Coming to VMware’s Telco Cloud Platform

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After launching its Telco Cloud Platform in 2020, VMware is now including the radio access network (RAN).

Although it’s very early in its life cycle, VMware’s Telco Cloud Platform is off to an impressive start. Working with many notable partners including Vodafone, Rogers Communications, and DISH Wireless, VMware is making a name for itself in a short period. Now, RAN is coming to the platform to help companies with two increasingly important components of 5G: virtualization and Open RAN.

The upgrades to this software will help virtualize both the centralized unit (CU) and distributed unit (DU) functions as well as automation, monitoring, and management for virtual machines and containers. “The first phase is to get those RAN installations virtualized so you can deliver differentiated applications,” said Lakshmi Mandyam, a Vice President at VMware. “Having automated set-up and deployment and management out to a distributed RAN installation is important.”

Intel’s FlexRAN software will support the RAN functions with VMware’s platform providing many security policies across the RAN. Moving forward, companies will be able to run 5G applications on the RAN part of VMware’s platform, but it’s going to take time for this to come to fruition. “The transformation of the RAN is going to be a journey,” said Mandyam.

Many have speculated what would become of VMware’s platform after DISH Wireless shocked the world by announcing an industry-changing partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The newest major wireless provider is launching its cloud-native 5G network in Las Vegas, Nevada using AWS services, however, VMware’s application orchestration and infrastructure are still part of the plan. AWS and VMware have already collaborated and also maintain a healthy relationship. “We have a historical relationship with AWS. A lot of network operators want a dual vendor strategy. This doesn’t really change our plans with DISH,” said Mandyam. “If you look at a lot of the RAN functions as an example, there (are) a lot of real-time performance requirements, data plane requirements that VMware is already delivering on. (DISH is) still going to be using our telco cloud platform for the RAN,” she continued.

DISH Wireless echoed these sentiments with Marc Rouanne, the Chief Network Officer for DISH, releasing a statement saying, “Our entire 5G network will be cloud-native, and we will leverage the VMware Telco Cloud Platform to adopt an O-RAN architecture for all RAN sites. We are working with the best hardware and software providers, and VMware is helping us achieve this vision.”

Source: Fierce Wireless