Another strong milestone was accomplished today for virtualized radio access networks (vRAN). In collaboration with Intel and Red Hat, Verizon has expanded its vRAN leadership position with the addition of the first Ericsson Cloud RAN cell site into its network. Verizon has been a global leader in virtualizing its network, announcing recently it already has 8,000 cell sites virtualized in its network with an eye toward virtualizing 20,000 sites.
Virtualizing the far edge of the RAN – the cell sites closest to the customer – is a function of decoupling the hardware and software associated with a cell tower and transitioning the software so that it’s not just stored in the cloud, but is designed for a cloud-native architecture and operation.
“Cloud-native virtualized RAN provides web-scale benefits, cost savings and flexibility to manage radio networks at a highly granular level,” said Cristina Rodriguez, vice president and general manager of the Wireless Access Networking Division at Intel. “Verizon’s latest deployment with Ericsson and Red Hat is a milestone in vRAN’s growing expansion around the world, and further validation of Intel-based general-purpose processors as the platform of choice.”
Intel has been a pioneer in network virtualization for more than 10 years and is the leader in network silicon with nearly all vRAN deployments running on Intel architecture. Working with a global ecosystem of proven partners, service providers are embracing Intel technology to create open, virtualized radio access networks. Intel’s contributions to Verizon’s recent milestone include providing its 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor, Intel® vRAN Dedicated Accelerator ACC100 and Intel® Ethernet Controller E810 to deliver the processing, acceleration and connectivity requirements.