Vodafone and Arm to collaborate on Open RAN platforms

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To meet the surging demand for faster and greener mobile connectivity, Vodafone is collaborating with Arm to expedite the development of new platforms for Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN).

By leveraging Arm architecture, Vodafone aims to create platforms optimised for use in Open RAN base stations; ensuring they possess enough computational prowess to meet the escalating demands of advanced 5G services. These processors, adhering to Open RAN principles, will utilise industry-standard servers while delivering significant advancements in energy efficiency.

Crucially, the collaboration between Vodafone and Arm doesn’t stop at technological innovations.

The partners say they are committed to nurturing a competitive landscape for Open RAN chipsets and its associated ecosystem. This involves providing crucial testing and verification support to smaller companies, empowering them to be part of the next-generation networks.

Currently, Vodafone is working closely with specialist system and silicon firms SynaXG and Ampere Computing for testing and validating Arm-based Open RAN silicon. Additionally, Fujitsu will contribute by providing the RAN software.

Testing, slated to commence later this year in vendor laboratories, will prove the integration of the compute platform and silicon. The initiative will then expand to include 5G commercial Open RAN software from Fujitsu before moving to Vodafone’s advanced test facilities in Málaga, Spain, and Newbury, UK, in Q1 2024.

Santiago Tenorio, Director of Network Architecture at Vodafone, said:

“Vodafone’s Open RAN leadership coupled with the power efficiency of the Arm-based architecture, will widen the chip and software ecosystem. 

By expanding the number of competing best-in-class suppliers, we can drive greater innovation, energy efficiency, and security for the benefit of our customers.”

This collaborative partnership’s outcomes will be shared with the entire industry, transforming networks from mere communication systems into disaggregated and open platforms for innovation.

(Photo by Matthew Buchanan on Unsplash)

See also: Vodafone and Orange complete calls using Open RAN shared network

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