Verizon makes vRAN gains with Ericsson partnership

Verizon has committed to virtualizing 20,000 sites by 2025; so far, it has virtualized more than 10,000

Verizon has added its first Ericsson virtualized cell site to further its network virtualization efforts. The cell site, also referred to as Ericsson Cloud RAN, has been implemented with support from Intel and RedHat, which have provided the processing and cloud-native orchestration functions.

More specifically, Verizon is using Ericsson’s commercial 5G Cloud RAN solution, which consists of a virtualized Central Unit (vCU), virtualized Distributed Unit (vDU) and radio units. The solution spans across all of the carrier’s frequency bands, utilizing both FDD and TDD 5G spectrum assets. Intel provided its 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor, vRAN Dedicated Accelerator ACC100 and Intel Ethernet Network Adapter E810, while Red Hat provided its OpenShift and Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes solutions.

Network virtualization will help Verizon respond to customers’ varied latency and computing needs more rapidly, as well as enable the carrier to introduce new products and services with increased flexibility and agility.  “The move to a cloud-native, virtualized architecture with standardized interfaces in every part of the network leads to greater flexibility, faster delivery of services, greater scalability, and improved cost efficiency in networks,” said the company.

“There is enormous potential to roll out and leverage the benefits of Cloud RAN nationwide, and the nature of Cloud RAN necessitates a broader ecosystem approach if such rollouts are to be successful in the long term. Partnerships and standard collaborations spur development, ultimately maximizing the benefits as cloudification gets introduced from 5G towards the 6G era,” Verizon and Ericsson penned in a recent white paper, adding that strong partner ecosystems, like this one,” will drive and shape the best technology solutions in terms of standardization, integration, and security.”

Verizon has committed to virtualizing 20,000 sites by 2025 and recently, Samsung released a statement declaring that Verizon, so far, has virtualized more than 10,000. This news comes only a few months after Verizon said it had 8,000 virtualized sites, indicating an ability to scale quickly. Samsung said this acceleration is due, in part, to its cloud-native, 100% virtualized vRAN solution. “Samsung’s vRAN provides Verizon with a network that scales easily, allows for rapid upgrades and service updates, and can be flexibly managed with pooled and centralized resources,” the vendor claimed.

Verizon also highlighted its work in the Open RAN space, stating that this technology is an evolution of the virtual network architecture with the potential to bring many benefits in terms of deployment flexibility.

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