Ahead of MWC, Dell doubles down on open telecom networks
Dell Technologies Inc. said today it’s making a number of moves aimed at helping telecommunications firms to adopt open, cloud-native technologies to build their next-generation network architectures more easily.
Telecom firms are keen to adopt open mobile network architectures that free them to use nonproprietary subcomponents from a variety of different suppliers. Open radio access networks, as they’re known, are enabled through a set of industry-wide standards that telecom suppliers can follow when producing related network equipment. It’s all about greater choice for telecom firms, which can choose from various components that provide programmable, intelligent, disaggregated, virtualized and interoperable network functions.
To enable this vision, Dell today announced the coming availability of Telecom Infrastructure Blocks for Red Hat, which is a new offering designed to help network operators meet the demands of 5G core and RAN workloads. It’s a fully engineered and cloud-native solution co-designed with Red Hat Inc. that bundles hardware, software and subscription services required to build, power and scale core network functions using Red Hat’s OpenShift software and Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes.
Whereas existing telecom networks are typically built with siloed stacks that limit operational agility, Dell said its Telecom Infrastructure Blocks for Red Hat are based on an open design that simplifies the design and deployment of next-generation, open telecom clouds. It allows operators to improve the efficiency of their information technology resources and reduce operational costs and power consumption, the company added.
Dell Telecom Infrastructure Blocks for Red Hat will be globally available in the second half of 2023, Dell said.
Honoré LaBourdette, vice president, telco, media, entertainment and edge ecosystem at Red Hat, said networks require layered capabilities across infrastructure and software-defined architecture, together with added security measures, orchestration and cloud-native applications. “By collaborating through an ecosystem of skilled hardware and software vendors, we are better equipped to deliver tailored solutions for network operators that meet their unique needs,” he added.
In addition to the Telecom Infrastructure Blocks for Red Hat, Dell announced a new range of PowerEdge servers designed for open telecom networks and edge deployments. Globally available from May, the compact new Dell PowerEdge XR8000, XR7620 and XR5610 servers are customized for telecom, open RAN and mobile edge computing workloads. They’re based on Intel Corp.’s 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and feature Intel’s vRAN Boost functionality, eliminating the need for external accelerator cards. According to Dell, that ensures compute power savings of around 20%, lowering the cost of ownership versus older servers.
According to analyst Dave Vellante of SiliconANGLE sister company Wikibon, there are two main trends worth noting with server infrastructure in telecom markets. First, servers generally are moving from CPU-centric designs to a world where greater emphasis is placed on the surrounding components such as network interface cards (NICs), RAID controllers and other supporting elements. These innovations are being delivered from companies such as Broadcom. The second mega trend is that the infrastructure stack will be more integrated, more along the lines of converged or hyperconverged systems but tailored for the telecommunications market.
For wireless networks, Dell announced a new Dell Private Wireless program. It’s aimed at communications services providers and other enterprises that require greater choice, and consists of several solutions developed jointly with Dell technology partners. For instance, Dell Private Wireless with Airspan and Expeto is a fully integrated offering for medium and large enterprises that allows them to extend on-site and remote application support across 4G and 5G networks.
Meanwhile, Dell Private Wireless with Athonet is targeted at smaller and medium-sized businesses that want to deploy their network architecture of choice quickly. Both offerings are available now. They’re based on open architectures, pre-tested and validated by Dell, and include self-service operations capabilities, Dell said.
Finally, Dell plans to open a new Open Telecom Ecosystem Lab in Cork, Ireland that provides another location for customers and partners to collaborate on open telecom ecosystems. Set to open in the second half of the year, it will be an extension of Dell’s original lab in its headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, which provides dedicated access to Dell engineers for ongoing design consultation and validation. It already supports more than 25 customers and partners with testing, certifying and validating new open telecom solutions. The idea is that everything can be tested in the lab, then quickly deployed in real-world settings.
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