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Intel, Juniper, and Rakuten Symphony collaborate to develop carrier grade Open RAN

By Ryan Morris-Reade, Thu 28 Oct 2021

Intel Corporation, Juniper Networks, and Rakuten Symphony have announced a collaborative effort to develop Symware, a carrier-grade Open RAN (Radio Access Network) solution.

The solution is designed to help mobile network operators modernise radio cell sites by leveraging the latest cloud-native architecture. The Symware multipurpose edge appliance provides operators with the flexibility to densify their network, accommodate various network topologies, and support new features while reducing the required hardware per site.

Globally, mobile network operators are starting to deploy Open RAN and cloud-native architecture in their networks, providing greater agility and enabling smarter security. It can also empower them with new levels of automation while broadening and securing their supply chain.

"Rakuten Symphony constantly looks to introduce leading-edge innovations to accelerate network transformations," says Rakuten Symphony CEO, Tareq Amin.

"With our partners, we have developed a cost-performance optimised appliance that simplifies the cell site deployment for 4G, 5G and future generations of mobile technology," he says.

"Symware provides operators with the ultimate future-proof cell site solution that enables them to flexibly densify their network and accommodate various network topologies at the lowest cost."

The Symware multipurpose edge appliance combines the containerised cell site routing functionality and a containerised Distributed Unit on a single general-purpose server platform, which the company says can significantly reduce an operator's capital and operating expenditures. 

It says offering consistent carrier-grade routing stack across both physical and virtual Radio Access Networks enables 5G network slicing features in RAN and transport domains, including slice isolation, slice monitoring and dynamic traffic steering through segment routing. 

The solution supports automation with zero-touch provisioning, rolling updates, telemetry and analytics for all the components and is based on the Kubernetes ecosystem for orchestration and networking.

Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate VP and general manager, Network Platforms Group, says, "We continue to see the industry shift to take advantage of the many benefits provided by the cloudification of the RAN. 

"By utilising our next-generation Intel Xeon D Processors and FlexRAN reference software, the collaboration showcases how RAN workloads can be consolidated onto a single server and meet the performance, capacity and cost requirements of 5G RAN deployments."

Juniper's CTO, Raj Yavatkar, says removing the obstacles of deploying O-RAN in disaggregated production networks is critical for 5G growth.

"Integrated routing and O-RAN in a single platform delivers cost and operational benefits for network operators," he says. "Combined with industry-leading Intel technology and Rakuten's DU software, Juniper's disaggregated and state-of-art routing stack offers operators an industry-leading solution for delivering differentiated 5G services including network slicing."

Developed with Rakuten Symphony's experience with cloud-native and Open RAN-based networks, leading containerised RAN software from Altiostar, next-generation Intel Xeon D Processors, FlexRAN reference software, and Juniper's carrier-hardened cloud-native routing stack, Symware will give operators more opportunity to create innovations within their networks, while broadening and securing their supply chain.

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