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VMware Paves a Path for Radio Access Network Modernization

VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN Extends the Benefits of Network Disaggregation and Virtualization from the Core to the RAN

Communication service providers (CSPs) are modernizing their networks as quickly as they can to bring new 5G services to customers. First with the core—the heart of the network. And now further out to the edge. They want to bring the benefits of the cloud to the parts of the network that connect mobile phones and other wireless devices back to the core. That’s why VMware is announcing VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN. It is a platform that enables CSPs to virtualize radio access network (RAN) functions and implement an open RAN architecture.

“A modern, open, and disaggregated RAN offers CSPs the single best opportunity to rapidly monetize 5G services,” said Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider and Edge, VMware. “New 5G services rely on CSPs to be able to host apps at the edge, close to end customers. A virtualized and open RAN allows CSPs to deliver these new edge services to customers directly from RAN sites. With Telco Cloud Platform RAN, we accelerate the disaggregation of the proprietary RAN and enable CSPs to modernize their RAN so they can monetize the 5G services they deliver across their network.”

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A Path for RAN Modernization

VMware Telco Cloud Platform lets CSPs quickly deploy and efficiently run virtualized network functions (VNFs) and containerized network functions (CNFs). And it lets them do so with agility and scalability across 5G networks. VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN takes the VMware Telco Cloud Platform for the core and extends it to the RAN. It helps CSPs virtualize RAN functions on a platform specifically optimized for the RAN and with support for Intel FlexRAN software reference architecture.

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This same platform can also be used for Open RAN (O-RAN). It gives CSPs the flexibility to evolve to the future – from traditional RAN to virtualized RAN (vRAN) to O-RAN – without having to disrupt their operations or overhaul their network design.

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“The transformation of the RAN will significantly change how operators purchase, construct, and maintain their mobile networks. It presents a significant economic opportunity and will allow for the introduction of new capabilities and expand the pool of solution providers. We forecast the convergence of openness and virtualization will generate around $3.4 billion in annual revenues by 2025, giving it about 9.5% of the total 4G and 5G RAN market,” said Daryl Schoolar, Practice Leader, Fixed and Mobile Infrastructure, Omdia. “But before we get there, operators must figure out how to transition from legacy solutions to open and virtualized architectures without disrupting their services – quite a task. VMware, with its history of helping operators make this transition in other parts of the network, is in a strong position to support operators as they make this transition with their radio access networks.”

Telco Cloud Platform RAN helps customers:

  • Achieve cloud-first automation by programmatically provisioning network functions across distributed vRAN sites, no matter what workloads they host. It gives CSPs the flexibility and efficiency to deploy vRAN functions wherever they are needed. And it helps connect siloed parts of the network. When combined with consistent operations across the Telco Cloud, it simplifies operations and lets CSPs quickly scale and tailor their 5G services for specific enterprise use cases.
  • Accelerate monetization by quickly introducing new 5G and edge services. Powered with VMware’s open ecosystem of partners and technologies, such as Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) and network slicing, which are faster and let CSPs more easily serve different industries and verticals.
  • Keep networks safe as CSPs have a huge number of new vRAN sites and devices connecting to the RAN. It lets CSPs apply consistent security policies to all their RAN sites to help reduce the chance of configuration errors or other changes that can put them at risk. With VMware’s intrinsic security approach, each vRAN function is also isolated within the virtualization layer. This keeps them separate from other systems and further protected.

“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,” said Marc Rouanne, executive vice president and chief network officer, DISH. “We are working with the best hardware and software providers and VMware is helping us achieve this vision. We believe this path will enable us to deliver amazing experiences and services to our customers faster and more efficiently.”

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