How Radio Access Network is Being Virtualized and the Role of FlexRAN

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The next generation of the 5G network will have to handle large volumes of data generated from millions of devices. This means transforming the core telecom network from a fixed-function, hard-wired, appliance architecture to a software-based open hybrid cloud platform. One way that operators are looking to streamline the network is by virtualizing the radio access network or vRAN.

Hi. I'm Sujata. In this video, I introduce FlexRAN and put it into context within the wireless industry. I also talk about how you can start to work with it to make it more efficient and the benefits you can get from using it in your next virtual radio access network project.

The next generation of the 5G network will have to handle large volumes of data generated from millions of devices. To accommodate these next-generation services, operators will need to rapidly evolve their mobile network architectures to process high bandwidth real-time data. This means transforming the core telecom network from a fixed-function hardwired appliance architecture to a software-based open hybrid cloud platform.

One way that operators are looking to streamline the network is by virtualizing the radio access network or vRAN. vRAN is an essential step into the 5G future because it simplifies the deployment of new features and algorithms by streamlining resource use. vRAN also separates network functions from the underlying hardware, making it possible for a flexible and dynamic RAN environment.

This design also leads to cost-effective networks supporting various access technologies such as millimeter waves, LTE, and Wi-Fi* Essential for 5G. Intel has created a vRAN reference implementation for virtualized cloud-enabled Radio Access Network called FlexRAN.

FlexRAN demonstrates how to efficiently implement wireless access workloads powered by the new generation of Intel® Xeon Scalable processors. These powerful processors bring high efficiency into the wireless RAN technology. To optimize the data processing needed in this new 5G space, Intel® processors are enhanced with the Intel® AVX-512 parallel instruction set. Intel Xeon Scalable processors are also highly integrated with NFVI and DPDK technologies and run optimally on Wind River Titanium Cloud*, as well as other optimized Linux* variants.

The ORAN Alliance is a multi-company initiative committed to evolving Open Radio Access Networks around the world and is built on a foundation of Open vRAN and white box hardware and common standardized interfaces. Intel is committed to this Alliance and has opened up FlexRAN APIs for developers.

There are numerous examples of Intel's FlexRAN reference implementations at work around the world. For instance, Rakuten*, a leading global innovation company, is currently on track to achieve an industry first with the deployment of a fully virtualized mobile network in Japan. Rakuten is utilizing Intel's FlexRAN building blocks to achieve greater flexibility and significant efficiency out of that innovative virtualized cloud-ready network.

With Intel's FlexRAN reference design and ORAN industry and ecosystem collaboration, telcos and communication service providers will now have an agile future-proof platform that they and their customers can use to accelerate innovation into 5G and beyond. Follow the links to contribute and to download the ORAN stack for app development for 5G and Edge use cases. Thanks for watching.