HPE opens 5G test lab for telcos to validate next-generation networks
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co. announced today that its new 5G network test lab for telecommunications providers is now open.
The HPE 5G Lab, as it’s called, provides an environment for telcos to test and validate their 5G network products with HPE’s growing portfolio of 5G and services.
HPE sees a big opportunity in 5G, and has introduced several new services this year as part of its effort to capture some of the billions of dollars telcos are investing as part of their next-generation network rollouts. They include its HPE 5G Core Stack, which is a suite of containerized, cloud native software modules announced in March that wireless carriers can use to power their next-generation 5G networks.
The idea with HPE 5G Core Stack is to ease the development of 5G networks by providing the necessary software building blocks in a prepackaged form. The bundle includes network functions from HPE and partners that run inside software containers, tools for automating infrastructure administration and a shared data environment to help manage important information.
Last month, the company bolstered its 5G capabilities when it announced HPE Edge Orchestrator, which enables telecos to offer edge computing services to their enterprise customers.
HPE said its new lab, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, can be accessed remotely by its customers. The company will provide management and operations services for customers, and also assist with integration and testing.
It said that 5G standards are designed to enable telcos to build 5G networks with open, cloud native platforms that take advantage of modular software and hardware components from different providers. Customers will be able to use the HPE 5G Core Stack to test different network functions from various providers, HPE said.
“Governments and telecoms operators around the world are looking to open 5G technologies as an opportunity to move away from several vendors which have raised fundamental concerns around security, resilience and market diversification,” said Phil Mottram, HPE’s vice president and general manager of Communications and Media Solutions.
Mottram was almost certainly alluding to China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., which has been banned from participating in several countries’ 5G networks due to concerns that its equipment might be used for spying. But Huawei is also considered to be the world’s leader in 5G technologies.
“Doubts persist about the ability of open 5G technologies to truly replace the old way of building networks,” Mottram said. “With the launch of the HPE 5G Lab, telcos, solution vendors, and national stakeholders can test innovative new solutions with confidence and ensure that they are ready for mass adoption.”
Constellation Research Inc. analyst Holger Mueller told SiliconANGLE that the race for 5G is really a race among providers to overhaul telecommunications infrastructure so it can handle the increased data loads and performance demands of next-generation networks.
“We all know that calls can drop all the time, but that is not acceptable in the 5G world where use cases such as industrial automation and transportation all hinge on the quality of the overall 5G experience,” Mueller said. “HPE is making it easier for telcos to test 5G with its gear, and the lab approach is the traditional route to take.”
HPE said its new lab is supported by industry players including Affirmed Networks Inc., Intel Corp. and Red Hat Inc., and that it has already showcased several very successful cloud native, multivendor 5G core deployments with its partners.
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