Virtual RAN solutions are critical in a 5G world, says VMware

VMware, Inc. and Deutsche Telekom are collaborating on an open and intelligent virtual RAN (vRAN) platform. The platform, based on O-RAN standards and Intel’s FlexRAN architecture, will improve RAN agility for both existing LTE and future 5G networks. The companies revealed plans to test and validate the solution at Deutsche Telekom’s headquarters in Germany.

As service providers continue to focus on delivering an enhanced mobile broadband experience to consumers, the long-term vision has been around the pervasive virtualization of a network from core to edge, which involves decoupling software from hardware, enabling network operators to develop and deploy innovative services automatically. And while the vast majority of operator investments in virtualization are focused on the core network, an interest in virtualizing the RAN has continued to take off.

For Shekar Ayyar, executive vice president and general manager, Telco and Edge Cloud, VMware, this development is critical.

“In a 5G world, the RAN needs to become software-defined in order to meet the needs of CSPs, and what we’re proposing with this open and intelligent vRAN platform will do exactly that,” he said.

Ayyar added that the “solution brings the promise of RAN to the forefront for today’s LTE networks and tomorrow’s 5G networks.”

Cristina Rodriguez, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Wireless Access Network Division agreed on the importance of virtualized RAN, stating, “Virtualizing the RAN is an important step in the 5G future that will enable innovative services at the edge. Through this collaboration we aim to demonstrate how standards-based hardware and software can accelerate new types of network deployments.”

Leveraging standards-based Intel processors and FlexRAN and a vRAN software reference platform, the Open RAN solution architecture runs vRAN workloads on top of VMware’s cloud platform, which is optimized for real-time and low latency workloads.

The companies also stated that the virtual RAN solution will feature a VMware-developed pre-standard, near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), which will enable real-time radio resource management capabilities.

In addition to VMware, Deutsche Telekom and Intel, Cohere Technologies and Mavenir have also been revealed to be key solution development partners.


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