Vodafone brings Samsung OpenRAN to Europe

Vodafone brings Samsung OpenRAN to Europe
Business news |
Vodafone is to roll out OpenRAN cloud-based cellular network technology in the UK using Samsung’s vRAN systems
By Nick Flaherty


Samsung Electronics is to supply its cloud-based virtualised Radio Access Network (vRAN) 5G and Massive MIMO technology to Europe for the first time in a deal with Vodafone in the UK.

Samsung will supply its commercial vRAN solutions and OpenRAN compliant radios, covering both low-band and mid-band spectrum. The fully virtualized RAN is software-based and runs on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. Using a cloud-native and container-based architecture, Samsung’s vRAN enables more flexible deployments and efficiency in network management.

The company has added an automation layer to the architecture to simplify end-to-end network management and evolve the network. It will also deliver to Vodafone UK its OpenRAN compliant 5G radios, including the latest Massive MIMO radios.

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“Vodafone is committed to leading the next wave of digital transformation across Europe, ensuring fast and reliable connectivity for all,” said Johan Wibergh, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone. “Open RAN, built on strong partnerships, is key to realizing this ambition. Samsung’s innovative solutions and expertise are part of the foundation that is creating this network of the future.”

This is the first deployment for Samsung in Europe, which is dominated by Nokia and Ericsson as hardware suppliers. Virtualized RAN and O-RAN technologies will be important to helping evolve network architectures to power the next generation of 5G applications and services. T

“We are proud that this collaboration with Vodafone—one of the premier carriers in the world—will be the first scaled deployment of our pioneering 5G technologies in Europe, including vRAN and OpenRAN,” said Paul Kyungwhoon Cheun, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “This is a major step forward, as more operators are transitioning into new RAN technologies to prioritize user experience and efficiency. We look forward to continue leading the way in 5G innovation to meet our customer’s highest standards of performance, functionality and reliability.”

Next: OpenRAN Massive MIMO 

The Samsung vRAN software now supports Massive MIMO (mMIMO) multiple antenna designs in the C-band around 3.6GHz, providing data links over 1.5Gbit/s in lab trials. The company is conducting field trials using these products, and plans to commercialize the solution this year. Vodafone’s UK roll out will use Samsung and NEC massive MIMO systems. 

 The Samsung MIMO demonstration used E-UTRAN New Radio Dual Connectivity (EN-DC) technology combining 40MHz of 4G frequency and 100MHz of 5G frequency on the C-Band spectrum. Through the dual connectivity approach, Samsung achieved 2.25Gbps overall on a single user device.

For the demonstration, Samsung used its latest virtualized RAN, C-Band 64T64R Massive MIMO radio, and cloud-native 5G Core. Samsung’s vRAN, which is already in use providing services on low-band spectrum in the US.

“By combining our true vRAN solution and powerful C-Band 64T64R Massive MIMO radio for the first time in the industry, Samsung achieved a significant breakthrough, increasing the throughput ten-fold, improving user experience and showing our leadership in virtualized technology,” said Junehee Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “This milestone is a result of Samsung’s ongoing efforts in 5G innovation, backed by global commercialization experience, and we aim to continue driving R&D efforts to help mobile operators deliver pioneering solutions.”

 “Operators consistently tell us that RAN virtualization is a priority as they look to accelerate their 5G network and service deployments,” said Peter Jarich, Head of GSMA Intelligence. “Samsung’s latest demonstrations will be well-received, signaling that 5G vRAN is a viable option, achieving performance on par with purpose-built hardware.”

The initial deployments will be use Dell EMC PowerEdge servers to support the combined DU/CU function running Containers as a Service (CaaS) software from Wind River Studio, which will provide a distributed cloud-native platform hosting the Open RAN applications and virtualised RAN from Samsung. This gives Vodafone the benefit of being able to mix and match and install new software releases and upgrades more easily. 

Keysight Technologies will provide its OpenRAN test systems for conformance, interoperability and E2E system testing. Capgemini Engineering will be the key partner for Vodafone’s lab testing to ensure interworking of the OpenRAN multi-vendor ecosystem.


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