The collaborative advantage: Nokia and partners delivering best-in-class Cloud RAN solutions
Nokia has long been a believer in, and vocal supporter of open and interoperable technologies and we always look to place our customers’ interests first. Last year we announced partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud about developing Cloud RAN in the 5G era and have been working closely to integrate our solutions together. We have also announced a new partnership with IBM targeting enterprise customers. This strong partner ecosystem has been further strengthened through our proactive cooperation with tech giants Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. We also continue to work closely with our strategic semiconductor partners who have particular strengths relevant to base station computing. By pooling our leading technology together with these innovative companies, we can create advantages that no single company could achieve alone.
Mobile operator RAN networks are expected to evolve gradually towards Cloud-based RAN solutions. According to Dell'Oro, Cloud RAN could make up approximately 20 percent of the total RAN market by 2026. In practice, most operators will adopt a hybrid approach during the journey towards 6G, simply because Cloud RAN will have to co-exist in the network with Classic RAN with purpose-built baseband. A one-size-fits-all approach to radio network design will not be enough and operators cannot switch over overnight. Further, Cloud RAN has to be truly cloud-native and not just virtualized, and it has to be cost-efficient and power-efficient, for the business case to work for operators.
Nokia’s Cloud RAN solution comes with feature-richness and full feature parity with Classic RAN including seamless continuity and the same carrier-grade high performance Nokia is known for. Nokia’s cloud-native Cloud RAN software will be common with our purpose-built deployments and will tick every imaginable box for what is considered cloud-native. This enables operators to evolve their network architecture cost-efficiently while maintaining great network capacity and performance. Nokia will also bring the familiar benefits of cloud computing from IT and Core Networks to the RAN. For this, we need truly cloud-native software. We also plan to implement a so-called ‘any-cloud strategy’ where we can integrate seamlessly with any of the leading cloud infrastructure software stacks. This is why partnerships and collaboration are key.
Nokia is working closely with its semiconductor, server maker, hyperscaler and managed cloud service partners to optimize the cost and power consumption of server and data center hardware. As a RAN supplier, we will provide our mobile operator and enterprise customers with the flexibility to select their own server platforms and private clouds or use public service clouds or their preferred cloud infrastructure software stacks and centralize or decentralize whatever they prefer. In practice this means that operators and enterprises can buy and deploy their own preferred server hardware from third parties or move the Centralized Unit (CU) function to their preferred hyperscaler or managed cloud service provider’s edge cloud service. They also have the option to move both the CU to an edge cloud server and the Distributed Unit function to a far edge cloud server. Ultimately, this flexibility means that operators can respond rapidly to their customers’ varied requirements when using new applications or services, such as low latency services, network slicing, or wireless Internet of Things applications, in addition to mobile broadband and mobile voice connectivity.
Cloud RAN has the potential to transform mobile networks and is an evolutionary step towards the future of radio networks. It will lay the foundations for realizing Nokia’s technology vision 2030 where we will see the enormous potential of the metaverse and its impact on the industrial, enterprise and consumer sectors. Through partnerships and collaboration, we can drive the global adoption of Cloud RAN with a joint, robust, and comprehensive offer. With an ecosystem of best-in-class public cloud partners leveraging our Cloud RAN technology leadership, we can drive efficiency, innovation, openness, and scale by jointly delivering competitive advantage to operators and enterprises embracing Cloud RAN. Together, we can offer a greater choice to mobile operator and enterprise customers that avoids complexity through a common infrastructure as well as driving operational synergies.
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