Wind River seizes KDDI to boost 5G vRAN, Edge

Wind River announced a significant addition to the growing list of companies using its cloud-native telecom cloud management platform with news that Japanese operator KDDI has deployed Wind River Studio as part of its 5G network. commercial standalone based on Open RAN, which the telco claimed a few days ago is a world first. (See KDDI successfully powers up the world’s first standalone 5G open RAN site powered by vRAN in Japan.)

This agreement means that Wind River Studio is now deployed in the three most developed telecommunications regions: the United States, Europe and Asia/Pacific.

Essentially, Wind River’s offering comes into play to enable distributed cloud deployment across a carrier‘s network and provide a few “very powerful” applications such as the ability to orchestrate and automate operations around cloud deployment, and an analytical aspect of data collection, explained Randy Cox, head of product, cloud and vertical management at Wind River.

The solution also uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to examine the network and collected data, then make changes across the network to improve performance and automate the process.

Cox went the extra mile to fully explain how the process works.

“An operator can bring a ready-to-use base server into their environment. We will come bring our cloud platform software with orchestration analytics and enable RAN provider. Suppose, for example, that a Samsung RAN software is deployed in their network and essentially operates their base stations with, say, an HP or Dell server based on Intel processors and network interface cards (NICs) or accelerators that enable 5G processing with Wind River’s Cloud as a Service (CaaS) software. “In addition to that, there is the Samsung RAN software. And it’s really the stack that brings us this O-RAN or virtualized network,” he added.

Cox described Wind River as “the only vendor providing this in the world” and added that no other company offers a similar solution on such a scale.

In mid-2021, the solution was chosen by Vodafone for its efforts to build the first commercial Open RAN network in Europe. The operator claimed to be a pioneer in bringing the UK’s first 5G Open RAN site into service carrying live customer traffic in early 2022.

The company also claims a world first by completing a fully virtualized end-to-end 5G data session with Verizon in August 2020.

Cox cited Verizon’s findings that after deploying Wind River’s solution (with tens of thousands of nodes deployed in distributed cloud environments) in commercial traffic, their virtualized network achieved the same performance as a traditional in the past – in terms of data rate at the user end and latency.

“We’re doing quite a bit of traction with this solution – and these are the first steps. What I would say is we’re just at the very beginning so we feel like the winners are doing very well,” Cox said confidently.

In the case of the combination with KDDI, Wind River is already considering “a much broader rollout” in the future.

“KDDI aims to provide customers with advanced communication services with flexibility and speed that meet usage needs with open and virtualized base stations,” commented Kazuyuki Yoshimura, General Manager and Technology Sector Director at KDDI.

Cox admitted that there was an integration challenge to overcome during the initial deployment in the Open RAN environment. But, as he says, “once you get through that, it’s much easier to deploy and operate the network and there would be no difference between that in a traditional architecture,” Cox explained, adding that Wind River works “very well”. with its partners to obtain its fully integrated platform before its commercial availability.

These challenges, however, seem worthwhile. A January 2021 report by research firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) found that Wind River Studio can deliver a 67% to 75% reduction in capital costs at each edge site because the solution can run on a single server (or use a second if high availability is required), which is far less than competing systems which require 4 servers of equivalent cost and 6 to operate in high availability mode. You can read more about the report’s findings here.

Wind River Chief Product Officer Avijit Sinha said the company is here to meet the needs of next-generation networks because the future will be running on a virtualized, distributed cloud “with a low-latency, high-speed cloud architecture. the cutting edge of technology to support new use cases in the new smart machine economy”.

The company also cited a Forbes study indicating that 90% of telecom leaders believe that more than half of their offerings will be running on the remote cloud in less than three years. Then he’s surely made his point as he seeks to bolster his presence in the United States, Europe and, with his latest deal, Asia.

– Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, TelecomTV