New chip platforms, new hardware, testing and a notable acknowledgement from Vodafone for Intel’s integrated accelerator all feature in our pre-MWC23 Open RAN round up.
AMD updates for emerging market O-RUs, and gets Nokia onto EPYC
These new RFSoCs “will enable the expansion and deployment of 4G/5G radios into markets around the globe where lower cost, power and spectrum-efficient radios are required to address increased wireless connectivity.”
The ZU63DR specifically targets four transmit and four receive (4T4R) and dual band entry-level O-RAN radio unit (O-RU) applications. The Zynq ZU64DR is targeted for eight transmit and eight receive (8T8R) O-RU applications using the Split-8 option.
It also said it would have 15 partners for O-RAN Radio Units (O-RUs) on demo at MWC: Abside, Astrome, AW2S, CellXica, Comba, Fujitsu, Mavenir, NEC, Solid, Tejas, Ulak, Viettel, VVDN and Zlink.
Aside from these, there was a notable partnership with Nokia, which once exited from an FPGA route with Xilinx but is now engaging with Xilinx’s new owner AMD’s 4th Gen EPYC processor-based servers to deliver Nokia Cloud RAN solutions.
“As part of our ambition to provide the best Cloud RAN solutions, we are excited to extend our collaboration with AMD. We are looking to take advantage of the 4th Gen AMD EPYC processor’s capabilities to further enhance Nokia’s Cloud RAN solutions,” said Pasi Toivanen, Head of Partner Cloud RAN Solutions at Nokia.
Fujitsu says NVIDIA gets it done in vRAN
Fujitsu launched a new vDU and vCU vRAN solution based on NVIDIA’s GPU technology. It said it would be available from March this year, and was developed as part of NTT DoCoMo’s “5G Open RAN Ecosystem” (OREC).
The solution applies NVIDIA’s GPU processing engine “NVIDIA A100X” to the physical layer processing at the base station, enabling parallel processing of vRAN and edge applications on GPU hardware resources in an all-in-one configuration that allows each function to be built on the same server.
DoCoMo’s OREC is a programme put together by the operator to create integrations of multi vendor Open RAN systems. It aims to bring commercially available solutions to market that combine different vendor combinations to suit different deployment use cases.
At the moment it has showcased four types of multi-vendor vRAN integrations. Fujitsu and NVIDIA’s integration is Type 1, based on a Wind River virtualisation platform in Intel-based hardware from Fujitsu as well as Fujitsu’s vRAN software.
By leveraging the computing power of NVIDIA’s “A100X,” Fujitsu said it improved the processing capacity of the base station system so that it will only require software update to handle future high-load data processing loads such as Massive MIMO.
Spirent and Anritsu test team
The testing of Open RAN elements and integrations is proving to be a key part of the commercialisation of production-ready solutions, so any sign of deeper testing capability in Open RAN will be welcomed by ecosystem vendors and operators.
This week, Anritsu Corporation announced a partnership with Spirent Communications in Open RAN test solutions. Spirent Communications provides simulating/emulating environment for all network components and interfaces on the Landslide and Wireless Test Series to solve Open RAN interconnectivity challenges. Anritsu offers a line of solutions for precision time synchronization as well as test equipment for O-RU TRx characteristics, and also introduces its new O-RU test solution combining O-DU and front haul emulation.
Mavenir gets new DU hardware partner, and containers distribution
Mavenir said it has validated its vDU software to run on the HPE ProLiant DL110 server – so far based on 3rd Gen Intel XEON Scaleable. That expands hardware options for Mavenir’s vRAN software.
It has also deployed its vRAN software to run in Red Hat OpenShift Kubernetes environment. The solution uses the O-RAN Alliance’s O2 interface to allow Mavenir’s cloud-native network functions (CNF) to manage the resources provided by Red Hat OpenShift.
It also announced its converged packet core would be running on Red Hat OpenShift – “delivering a fully containerised and automated solution.”
Dell launches new hardware for Open RAN – Vodafone gives Intel-based DU approval
Dell launched new PowerEdge servers – XR8000, XR7620 and XR5610. These are all based on Intel 4th Gen Scaleable processors, which we will be hearing a lot more about through the week, as Intel has a clutch of partners lined up for its 4th gen Xeon Scaleable platform. The main selling point for Intel is that the platform includes integrated accelerators on the die, for example for advanced AI or for vRAN – known as vRAN Boost.
PowerEdge XR5610 and the XR8000 models are built to meet the challenges of today’s edge and O-RAN deployment environments. You can read more about the designs and versions here:
One operator that welcomed the servers as a platform for vDU (the virtualised Distributed Unit that is part of a disaggregated baseband) was Vodafone, which is interesting because Vodafone has also at times been a bit sniffy about Intel’s architecture for L1 DU acceleration.
Speaking of the XR800, Andy Dunkin, Open RAN RF and digital platform development manager, Vodafone, said it accommodated Vodafone’s requirements for “evolved distributed unit platforms”.
“It is a dense compute and modular solution with the environmental specification and form factor that will facilitate O-RAN deployment,” he added.