Red Hat and Samsung seek to help operators cope with vRAN ramp-up

As commercial vRAN deployments take off, open source software specialist Red Hat is working with Samsung on a new solution to help telcos scale their virtualised infrastructure.

The new offering is still in the works and doesn’t appear to have an official name yet. However, with vRAN announcements garnerning so much attention already at Mobile World Congress (MWC), Red Hat and Samsung seem to have decided it is best to break cover on their collaboration on day one of this year’s show.

They said their new solution promises to provide enhanced automation and integration capabilities, which should reduce complexity, and mitigate operational and deployment risks as operators roll out potentially tens of thousands of vRAN sites. The intended result is a more reliable vRAN network that can operate at scale, and deliver a faster return on investment (ROI) for telcos.

“Leveraging Red Hat’s industry-leading portfolio of open source technologies, Samsung will help operators and service providers address the next frontier of vRAN innovation. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Red Hat to offer a fundamental layer of consistency, flexibility and scalability to 5G RAN deployments for global operators,” said Kicheol Lee, VP and head of system S/W R&D, networks business, Samsung Electronics, in a statement.

“As all industries continue to navigate 5G transformation, we’ve learned that no single vendor can meet the demand for RAN technologies on their own. By extending our collaboration with Samsung, a pioneer in the global vRAN market, we can equip service providers with the necessary scale and efficiency for any given radio network,” added Honoré LaBourdette, VP of telco, media, entertainment and edge ecosystem at Red Hat.

Red Hat and Samsung plan to show off a customer proof-of-concept during the second half of this year, which again suggests that this solution is very much in the early-ish stages of development.

It’s understandable why they want to talk about it now though. Samsung – arguably more than most vendors – needs to make itself heard above the cacophony of announcements in Barcelona this week, what with the competition it faces from bigger rivals Nokia and Ericsson, among others.

In addition to its Red Hat collaboration, the Korean electronics giant has also announced the next iteration of its vRAN software, vRAN 3.0. It has also updated its Samsung Cloud Orchestrator (SCO) to support automation of vRAN deployments across private and public cloud environments.

Similarly, Nokia on Sunday took the wraps off anyRAN, a suite of products and services designed to help operators migrate to virtualised network architecture, regardless of whether it is private, hybrid or public cloud.

Meanwhile, Intel is also highlighting its vRAN activities, announcing on Monday a new chipset with integrated acceleration. Intel is not a direct vRAN competitor to Samsung, but its announcement underscores how hot of a topic vRAN already is at this year’s MWC.


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