Ericsson and Intel partner for 5G cloud platform

Ericsson and Intel have announced a new partnership which is aimed at aligning the Swedes efforts for software-defined infrastructure with Intel’s Rack Scale Design.

The resulting hardware management platform will be designed for telcos targeting 5G, NFV, and distributed cloud. In theory, the pair aims to create a common managed hardware pool for all workloads that dynamically scales. It’s the scalable and affordable dream telcos have been promised for years.

The duo has said the new tie-up will allow telcos to take advantage of multi-vendor hardware options, Ericsson’s end-to-end software solutions, and Intel’s latest architectural solutions.

“We have long history of successful collaboration with Intel. Lars Mårtensson, Head of Cloud & NFV infrastructure for Digital Services at Ericsson. “This new collaboration will focus on software in addition to hardware and we see it to be truly transformative for service providers’ ability to successfully deploy open cloud and NFV infrastructure, from centralized data-centres to the edge. Intel’s and Ericsson’s joint efforts significantly strengthens the competitiveness and roadmap of the Ericsson Software Defined Infrastructure offering.”

“5G will be transformative, accelerating today’s applications and triggering a wave of new usages and edge-based innovation,” said Sandra Rivera, SVP of the Network Platform Group at Intel. “Our infrastructure manageability collaboration with Ericsson will help communications service providers remove deployment barriers, reduce costs, and deliver new 5G and edge services with cloudlike speed on a flexible, programmable and intelligent network.”

As part of the tie up, the Ericsson SDI Manager software and Intel RSD reference software will be converged, though the pair reiterated full backward compatibility would be maintained for existing customers. Any new solutions developed moving forwards will be subsequent Ericsson hardware platforms, as well as Intel’s server products which are sold through third-parties and in other industry segments.

Telefónica and Netsia slice and dice RAN

Telefónica and Netsia have announced the successful integration of Netsia’s Virtual LTE RAN Platform into Telefónica’s Global Network Labs.

As part of Telefónica’s virtualization project UNICA, the pair have been working towards reproducing a Private LTE network with the ability to be sub-divided into multiple slices in Telefónica’s Madrid Labs. At RAN level, such a proposition can offer different performances, latencies, and radio resources to different sets of customers. As a result of this integration, it is believed SDN/NFV techniques can be applied to the RAN.

The product in question from Netsia is ProgRAN, which is described as a a programmable Software Defined Network (SDN)-based Radio Access Network framework. ProgRAN virtualizes the wireless channel resources allowing a remote controller to ‘slice the network’ into multiple virtual sub-networks.

“The integration of Netsia’s Virtual LTE RAN Platform into a commercial LTE core in our Labs is an important step forward to demonstrate that an end-to-end network slicing for 5G networks is possible, from the core to the RAN, and how it can be applied to specific service environments, like that of a virtual Private LTE network,” said Juan Carlos García, Telefónica’s Technology and Architecture Global Director.

“ProgRAN’s dynamic RAN slicing capability carries the potential to link network services to new commercial opportunities for operators”. Oguz Oktay, Netsia’s VP of Wireless Solutions. “ProgRAN allows RAN to programmatically adapt itself to different service requirements and customer experience needs.

“This means that an operator will be able to offer network functions to many different industries, such as IoT, healthcare or automotive, using a RAN-As-A-Service business model. Netsia’s virtual Private LTE platform integrated into Telefónica’s Global Network Labs using a commercial LTE core successfully demonstrates an example for how RAN slicing may be leveraged for new, revenue generating service opportunities.”

While it might sound very technical, and thusly relegated to the basement dwellers in the IT department, this is a useful step forward for network slicing advocates. A good usecase example is a hospital, where wireless resources are shared among doctors, patients, visitors, objects and other people. Should robotic surgery or AI applications for diagnosis be a realistic ambition, such separation of the airwaves would be seen as a critical step. After all, you wouldn’t want a cat video causing buffering in triple-bypass surgery.