By Jeff Gowan
A recent report from McKinsey stated their prior research has, “demonstrated that organizations that move early to restructure and change during times of crisis come out ahead in the subsequent decade. Therefore, [they] believe that 2021 will be a critical year for operators: a unique opportunity to fundamentally reimagine their business or, alternatively, risk another decade of decline.” Companies who lean into a time of crisis to focus on their evolution, rather than simply survival, will have a better likelihood of success. Or, as more simply put by Jack Welch, “Change before you have to.”
Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have felt the need for this change for the past decade or more as consumer needs have shifted, new technology has been introduced, and the MNOs are now seeing more competition both from traditional and non-traditional players, with profit and market cap shifting quickly from telecom operators to internet companies. COVID-19 and changing attitudes about a remote workforce and e-commerce are increasing the urgency to take action.
Where to start for the most impact
One of the areas MNOs are looking to change is how they design, build, deploy, and manage their mobile infrastructure, and virtualization is playing an important role. In order to stay competitive, MNOs need to be able to deliver 5G services much faster than services were delivered in the past. Those services must meet challenging requirements that include ultra-low latency and high bandwidth. The other requirement is that the infrastructure must be deployed and operated in a scalable, cost-effective way.
The radio access network (RAN) is not only a critical component of 5G as it provides the interface between mobile devices and the network, it is also a critical area for MNOs to be cost aware as the RAN can be up to 80% of the cost of a mobile network. There has been much focus recently on virtualizing the RAN as a means to deliver next generation services in a cost effective way with Verizon leading the way with respective 5G virtualization activities over the past year.
A reference design from vRAN infrastructure leaders
Virtualizing the RAN, for all of it’s benefits, can be quite complex. This is why Intel, HPE, and Wind River have collaborated on a new reference design for vRAN. The design is based on Intel Select Solution validated components including: Open RAN Optimized HPE ProLiant DL110 Gen 10 Plus Telco Servers, 3rd generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, Intel® vRAN Dedicated Accelerator ACC100 and Intel® Ethernet 800 Network Adapters, and Wind River Studio, an integrated cloud platform unifying infrastructure, orchestration, and analytics capabilities that enables MNOs to deploy and manage globally distributed 5G edge networks.
By using a reference design that has been pre-validated, MNOs can accelerate the build and deployment of their 5G networks. The solution is built to deliver key elements in their 5G strategy such as low latency, high throughput, service deployment mobility, and reliability. This combined system affords the MNO to:
• Help lower complexity and risk as it provides MNOs with a validated hardware and virtualization platform based on reference designs validated for vRAN applications.
• Help lower total cost of ownership as Wind River Studio requires fewer deployments in a network and is cloud native.
To learn more about this reference platform, read the new white paper, “Wind River, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, & Intel Deliver 5G vRAN.”