According to a recent announcement from Verizon, the company says it is the first in the world to successfully complete an end-to-end (from the core of the network to the far edge of the network) fully virtualized 5G data session in a live network. The company said that this milestone can pave the way for wide-scale mobile edge computing and network slicing, and will enable Verizon to respond to customers’ latency and computing needs.
In August, Verizon reportedly launched its 5G mobile edge compute live for developers with AWS Wavelength at 5G Edge locations in Boston and the Bay Area.
Virtualizing the RAN, like the virtualization work previously completed in the core of the network, is designed to decouple software and hardware functionality enabling the network to be built on general purpose hardware, according to Verizon. In addition, the company said in the release, using Common Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware leads to greater flexibility and agility in the introduction of new products and services.
“Virtualizing the entire network from the core to the edge has been a massive, multi-year redesign effort of our network architecture that simplifies and modernizes our entire network,” said Adam Koeppe, SVP, Technology and Planning, Verizon. “Verizon has been on the leading edge of virtualizing the core over the past few years and has been bullish in the design and development of open RAN technology, as well as in the testing of that technology with great success.”
This virtualization reportedly will also lower the barrier to entry for new vendors in the ecosystem.
“Massive scale IOT solutions, more robust consumer devices and solutions, AR/VR, remote healthcare, autonomous robotics in manufacturing environments, and ubiquitous smart city solutions are only some of the ways we will be able to deliver the promise of the digital world. Advancements in virtualization technology are critical steps towards that realization,” added Koeppe.
Verizon coordinated with many partners in this demonstration. Samsung provided its commercial 5G virtualized RAN solution, consisting of a virtualized Central Unit (vCU), a virtualized Distributed Unit (vDU), and radio units. The solution can provide mobile operators with improved efficiency, flexibility, and management benefits through the deployment of a software-based 5G radio infrastructure. Intel provided its Intel Xeon Scalable processor, Intel FPGA Programmable Acceleration Card (Intel FPGA PAC) N3000, Intel Ethernet Network Adapter XXV710, and its FlexRAN software reference architecture. Wind River is providing a cloud-native, Kubernetes- and container-based software infrastructure, to deliver lowered latency and high availability for national deployment of virtualized 5G RAN.
Ken Briodagh is a storyteller, writer and editor with about two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.
Edited by Ken Briodagh