VMware | October 27, 2021
Service providers are transforming their RAN to architectures that are open and programmable. This provides an opportunity for developers to create innovative apps and services to be deployed across the RAN. A proponent of this wave of RAN innovation, VMware announced several updates to its RAN portfolio of products and introduced VMware RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC). VMware RIC, along with VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN, will help service providers smoothly transition to Open RAN.
“When it comes to Open RAN, the genie is out of the bottle. The potential benefits of increasing innovation while reducing operational expense are compelling. As such, VMware is pushing to accelerate the transformation of the RAN along with Open RAN principles. VMware is paving the way for service providers to modernize the RAN so it is programmable and intelligent, built with best-of-breed solutions from a vibrant partner ecosystem.”
Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider and Edge, VMware
Introducing VMware RIC
The RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) is a new function introduced by the O-RAN Alliance that enables service providers to deploy cloud-native control and management apps in the RAN. VMware is today introducing VMware RIC, a platform that abstracts the underlying RAN infrastructure and provides developer APIs for xApps and rApps to program the RAN.
VMware RIC platform will consist of two RICs that can run independent of each other, or together:
VMware Centralized RIC, an implementation of the non-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (non-RT RIC) in the O-RAN Alliance reference architecture. It will manage and host rApps that have control functions with response timing greater than one second.
VMware Distributed RIC, an implementation of the near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (near-RT RIC) in the O-RAN Alliance reference architecture. It will manage and host xApps that have control functions with response timing less than one second, typically on the order of 10’s of milliseconds.
VMware RIC will provide service providers with:
Choice and flexibility to transform the RAN into an open, intelligent RAN while minimizing business disruption.
An agile RAN architecture so they can quickly respond to customer needs, changes in traffic pattern, as well as any unforeseen events that require a sudden shift.
Programmability and intelligence to enable innovations introduced by a broad ecosystem.
Enhanced security to better safeguard a larger attack surface inherent to the distributed nature of RAN sites and the devices connected to them.
VMware has engineered its RIC to seamlessly
integrate with traditional RAN equipment as well as virtualized RAN network functions independent of them being O-RAN compliant. A large ecosystem of xApps and rApps enables service providers to maximize the benefits of an Open RAN to address their unique requirements and priorities.
To drive the growth of this ecosystem, VMware plans to offer a RAN application developer program to help partners jump-start and accelerate development of xApps and rApps with VMware RIC SDKs, access to VMware RIC development licenses, developer support, testing environment, and interoperability certification. The planned program will be centered around the developer experience, from the initial design of the xApp/rApp all the way to the deployment.
Examples of partners who are already working with VMware to integrate their xApps and/or rApps as microservices on VMware RIC through SDKs, include:
Cohere Technologies’ Spectrum Multiplier xApp improves spectral efficiency for service providers by as much as 2x with the use of its unique Delay-Doppler channel representation.
Polte's location xApp pioneers more secure, accurate and global location intelligence for service providers and their customers.
AirHop xApps and rApps support a broad spectrum of use cases, including RAN configuration and operation optimization, interference management, capacity and coverage optimization, and mobility optimization.
Cellwize RAN intelligence technology and rApps enable backward compatibility alongside O-RAN future proof management and orchestration of multi-vendor networks.
Intel is a strategic partner as VMware works with service providers to virtualize the RAN. VMware RIC is based on Intel FlexRAN reference architecture, enabling a flexible and programmable platform for software-defined RANs.
“Intel FlexRAN software allows operators transitioning to a cloud-native architecture to run their RAN and AI workloads on the same standard hardware platform as other workloads, from core to edge to access," saidCristina Rodriguez, vice president of Intel’s Network Edge Group and general manager, Wireless Access Network Division. "VMware RIC, powered with Intel AI and Machine Learning capabilities, supports a wide variety of xApps and rApps that will help operators optimize their network performance, deliver new functions and features, and offer new value-added services.”
VMware RIC SDKs are expected to be generally available in VMware’s Q4 FY22. VMware RIC is expected to be initially available in VMware’s Q1 FY23.
New VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN Capabilities
VMware RIC, combined with VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN, paves a clear and simple path toward RAN transformation. Service providers can virtualize RAN functions on a horizontal platform specifically optimized for RAN. The same platform, with VMware RIC, can be utilized for Open RAN, providing service providers flexibility and a smooth evolution toward the future without disrupting their business operations and overhauling network design.
Advancements to VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN aim to strike a balance between network performance and operational flexibility. The platform’s enhanced performance meets strict latency requirements to support even the most demanding RAN workloads, while its hypervisor functions as the unheralded workhorse to provide operational flexibility.
New VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN features will provide service providers with:
Superior performance: VMware ESXi delivers real-time performance for RAN workloads (read the blog).
Cost reduction: VMware Tanzu for Telco combined with VMware ESXi allows service providers to mix and match various cloud-native RAN workloads and custom 5G applications on the same physical appliance, ideal for open and disaggregated RAN where space is limited at the cell site and the number of sites keeps growing.
Operational consistency: VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN provides a common platform and end-to-end automation and orchestration across 5G networks to prevent creating siloed islands of network functions.
O-RAN Service Management and Orchestration (SMO)
Service providers are adopting a multi-vendor service and orchestration management (SMO) framework as defined by the O-RAN Alliance. This SMO framework includes the non-real-time RIC, O-Cloud management, and FCAPS (fault, configuration, accounting, performance and security) management. VMware’s RAN portfolio is uniquely positioned to address all these functions:
VMware Centralized RIC with associated SDK and rApps.
VMware Telco Cloud Automation for O-Cloud management.
VMware Telco Cloud Operations for FCAPS spanning RAN infrastructure, transport and mobile core.
While the above components will integrate seamlessly for a simplified experience, customers may choose to deploy any component independently.
VMware Partners with Aspire to Streamline RAN Testing and Validation
Aspire Technology is a well-established leader within the Open RAN ecosystem, not only with its Open RAN Lab services, but also through a wide range of projects with global service providers, technology partners, systems integrators and Open RAN communities. Leveraging Aspire’s deep heritage in networks, the Aspire Open RAN Lab enables technology partners, like VMware, and service providers to fast-track development, integration, test and deployment of Open RAN-based networks.
VMware and Aspire are announcing today they have entered into a strategic partnership to accelerate and simplify testing and integration of Telco Cloud Platform RAN as part of a service provider’s end-to-end network.
Bill Walsh, CEO of Aspire Technology, stated, “As an independent supplier, we believe that Open RAN is a transformational move in network disaggregation, thus we are excited to partner with VMware in helping service providers smoothly transition to Open RAN.”
VMware is a leading provider of multi-cloud services for all apps, enabling digital innovation with enterprise control. As a trusted foundation to accelerate innovation, VMware software gives businesses the flexibility and choice they need to build the future. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, VMware is committed to building a better future through the company’s 2030 Agenda.
Ekinops | October 23, 2021
Ekinops, a leading network access and virtualization specialist, has strengthened its UK presence; expanding its sales team and signing a distribution agreement for its OneAccess-branded portfolio with Exertis, one of the country's largest and fastest growing technology distributors.
Market-proven by service providers globally, Ekinops' OneAccess portfolio provides a wide choice of innovative physical and virtualized solutions for enterprise network services. OneAccess-branded routers are deployed with OneOS6 built-in services, which means network functions such as SD-WAN can be activated on demand. This enables flexible, futureproof network management capabilities and accommodates diversifying and growing connectivity demands.
"As one of the UK's largest and most trusted technology distributors, we pride ourselves on our strong vendor partnerships to deliver quality, cost-effective solutions for our customers," says Tom Cox, Commercial Director Enterprise Division at Exertis. "Ekinops and its OneAccess portfolio embody these values. As a widely trusted, reliable and mature technology brand, we look forward to offering the OneAccess portfolio to our customers and facilitating truly next-gen network solutions."
Alongside its latest distribution agreement, Ekinops has also grown its UK and Ireland sales team.
"An agile, partnership-driven approach is at the heart of Ekinops' offering. To deliver this, it is vital that alongside a skilled regional sales presence, we have a distribution partner who shares our values."
Frank Dedobbeleer, Group Vice President Sales EMEA & APAC at Ekinops
"We pride ourselves on a strong global presence. In 2020, 63% of our total revenue came from international markets, an upward trend we intend to continue," added Frank Dedobbeleer. "The UK and Irish telecoms sector is undergoing a period of exciting growth and transformation, and enhancing our established presence and investments is key".
Telco Systems | July 15, 2021
Telco Systems, a leading provider of innovative Network Edge solutions for communications infrastructure and service management, and Stem Connect, a leading supplier of ultra-reliable business connectivity solutions, announced today a joint offering for a service virtualization solution in the United Kingdom, France, and South Africa. The new service will be built on Telco Systems' fast edge technology and Stem Connect's expertise in providing enterprise-grade networking solutions in these regions.
This strategic collaboration was formed after successful testing of the integrated solution in accordance with particular market needs, which included Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) such as SD-WAN and Firewall. Customers will get access to the latest Edge Computing technology as well as a localized, field-proven deployment capability. With enterprises looking for quick and efficient solutions that reduce time to market, the focus of this collaboration is on pre-packaged technology and a streamlined delivery and service approach. The solution goes beyond connection and security because Telco Systems' edge device allows other applications to be installed on the device at a low cost, allowing Stem Connect to deploy additional applications required by the enterprise customer.
Third-party VNFs and new white box devices can be set up and fully operational in minutes thanks to Telco Systems' virtualization technology. This technology allows telcos, managed service providers, and governments to rapidly deploy new VNF-based business services with centralized administration and ongoing orchestration. Telco Systems' Edge computing solution also enables MSPs to operate on Intel or Arm-based devices while using native Cloud environments for network management and operations.
About Telco Systems
Telco Systems is a leader in innovative Cloud Computing and Network Edge solutions for managing communications infrastructure and services. Carrier Ethernet, MPLS-based demarcation and aggregation, NFV, uCPE, 5G, and IoT solutions are among the company's industry-leading Cloud Edge Computing product portfolio. Worldwide, managed service providers and enterprises depend on Telco Systems for networking technologies and innovations to increase the capacity of their network infrastructures and generate revenue from new connectivity offerings. BATM Advanced Communications' fully owned subsidiary is Telco Systems.
About Stem Connect
Stem Connect, a leading and preferred Network Provider in the United Kingdom, France, and South Africa, takes a unique approach to provide connectivity solutions to our customers. Our main goal is to provide affordable and practical solutions that are supported by highly skilled and professional support staff. Stem Connect is well known in the enterprise for managed connectivity solutions, voice, data, or fail-safe service level agreements. The Stem Connect network has a strong presence, with numerous International Fibre routes and Global peering POPS. Our fiber, POPS (Point of Presence), and datacenter peering points allow us to create a resilient network with multiple fail-overs and shortest path routing, allowing Stem Connect to offer a highly resilient network with minimal latency. As a result, our clients can run real-time applications that surpass their expectations. In addition, we provide one of the most extensive service level agreements in the UK.