Ericsson and Intel already work closely together on virtualized RAN architectures, even though the Swedish firm has increasingly talked up the need for proprietary and specialized silicon to support near-real time functions in the RAN’s Layer 1. However, for the centralized unit (CU) of the disaggregated vRAN architecture, which supports functions at higher layers, an x86-based platform is the heart of Ericsson’s Cloud RAN offering.
Now, the two firms have set up the Ericsson-Intel Tech Hub to identify and prioritize enhancements and use cases for Cloud RAN, and to build an R&D roadmap for future commercial software releases.
The hub is located in Ericsson’s Silicon Valley facility in Santa Clara, California and will focus on creating a roadmap to support key priorities such as improved energy efficiency and network performance, reduced time to deploy, and support for new revenue streams such as enterprise applications.
Findings in power management and performance will be released this year as well as joint work on Cloud RAN containerized network functions (CNFs) for upcoming generations of Intel processors.
Dan Rodriguez, general manager of Intel’s Network Platforms Group, said in a statement: “The transformation to fully virtualized, cloud-native networks brings tremendous innovation and agility, and is now extending to the RAN. The Tech Hub will provide a venue for Ericsson and Intel to extend our collaboration and showcase how a virtualized RAN can deliver greater levels of automation, agility and sustainability.”
Ericsson introduced its Cloud RAN offering in October 2020 and the following March, set up an Open Lab to drive development with customers and partners.