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DISH to Trial VMware RAN Intelligent Controller

While most service providers are sorting out how to insert 5G technology into legacy architectures, it’s always been a 5G world for DISH Network. It is standing up a 5G network from scratch and selected VMware to build the foundation for the complex radio access network (RAN). Its RAN workloads will run on top of VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN and, announced, DISH will trial VMware’s RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) as the platform on top of which RAN applications will run.

Marc Rouanne, executive vice president and chief network officer at DISH Wireless, said, “DISH’s Network of Networks will leverage network slicing, Open RAN (O-RAN), and other 5G innovations to provide customized network services. It’s not a one-size-fits-all experience. It can be customizable, by speed, latency, data requirements – all defined by the customer. We are redefining the relationship between service provider and enterprise, and VMware has been a strategic partner in helping us achieve this vision.”

VMware RIC is a multi-RAN, multi-cloud platform that abstracts the underlying RAN infrastructure and can host both near-real-time applications (xApps) and non-real-time applications (rApps). These apps enable new capabilities – automation, optimization and service customization – that fuel innovation across a telco network.

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Through this trial, DISH will evaluate VMware RIC on its ability to:

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  • Create custom solutions from a vibrant ecosystem of RIC innovators: In the coming years, DISH expects a rich ecosystem of xApps and rApps to take shape—almost like an App Store for the RAN. With a RIC platform, DISH will be able to mix and match RAN software from multiple vendors and assemble powerful new solutions for their networks and customers.
  • Use RAN programmability and intelligence to automate its Network of Networks: With the ability to access RAN data and program RAN components, RIC applications will help DISH enable progressively smarter automation. For example, an rApp could run machine learning analysis on RAN traffic and performance over time, and then feed those insights back to upstream controllers—or even an xApp in the same node—to execute optimizations.
  • Enhance security: DISH will be able to enforce the same consistent security policies across the end-to-end network, including in the RAN. But the RIC adds still more options. RIC makes RAN components function more like endpoints—and could even run endpoint-like security software to monitor and protect RAN traffic at the point it enters the network.

Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s Service Provider and Edge business unit, said, “DISH is building a first-of-its-kind network that will move the entire industry forward. We’re excited to be a part of the journey as we continue to work with DISH and its ecosystem partners to launch the first Open RAN-based 5G network in the United States.”

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