Intel and Samsung renew vRAN vows

US chipmaker Intel and Korean electronics giant Samsung have doubled down on their mutual commitment to advance the vRAN paradigm.

Intel’s interest in encouraging as much RAN processing to be done on general-purpose silicon is clear, while Samsung is engaged in a perpetual game of catch-up with the dominant incumbent RAN vendors. So both companies have a strong incentive to make vRAN as viable an alternative to the legacy RAN technology as possible.

They have been collaborating since 2017, when vRAN was just a glint in the telecoms industry’s collective eye. This latest announcement involves the integration of Samsung’s vRAN 3.0 software with 4th generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, so it doesn’t seem to be much more than a refresh of this long-standing relationship.

“The mobile industry is on a transformational journey toward end-to-end network virtualization,” insisted Cristina Rodriguez, GM of the Wireless Access Networking division at Intel. “Intel and Samsung have a long-standing collaboration with a shared commitment to deliver highly integrated, virtualized RAN solutions. This new agreement will deepen that collaboration, enabling both companies to jointly speed-up operators’ vRAN deployments at scale and to deliver a strong combination of flexibility, performance and power efficiency.”

“Intel has been a close innovation partner within Samsung’s 5G vRAN ecosystem, helping advance our goal of working with industry-leading innovators to develop and commercialize best-in-class vRAN solutions that meet the highest standards,” said Jeongho Park, Head of Technology Strategy Group, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “We are excited to expand upon our collaboration with technology leaders like Intel to bring forth the next wave of vRAN enhancements – including reduced power consumption, automation and increased flexibility.”

As you would expect, they made sure to successfully complete interoperability tests before publicly reiterating how mutually contented they remain, with the product of this harmonious union expected to be commercially available before the end of the year. Whether the telecoms industry shares their enthusiasm for vRAN, however, remains to be seen.


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