Verizon completes end-to-end fully virtualized 5G data session

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The fully virtualized 5G data session was completed with support from Samsung, Intel and Wind River

Verizon is laying claim to the completion of the world’s first end-to-end — meaning from the core of the network to the far edge of the network — fully virtualized 5G data session. According to Verizon, the virtualization of the entire network is critical and leads to “greater flexibility, faster delivery of services, greater scalability, and improved cost efficiency in networks.”

“Virtualizing the entire network from the core to the edge has been a massive, multi-year redesign effort of our network architecture that simplifies and modernizes our entire network,” said Adam Koeppe, senior vice president of technology and planning for Verizon. “Verizon has been on the leading edge of virtualizing the core over the past few years and has been bullish in the design and development of open RAN technology, as well as in the testing of that technology with great success.”

The virtualization in the Radio Access Network demonstration was achieved with support from a number of partners, including Samsung, which provided its commercial 5G virtualized RAN solution, consisting of a virtualized Central Unit (vCU), a virtualized Distributed Unit (vDU), and radio units; Intel, which provided its Intel Xeon Scalable processor, Intel FPGA Programmable Acceleration Card (Intel FPGA PAC) N3000, Intel Ethernet Network Adapter XXV710 and its FlexRAN software reference architecture; and Wind River, which is providing Verizon with a cloud-native, Kubernetes- and container-based software infrastructure that delivers ultra-low latency and high availability for national deployment of virtualized 5G RAN.

Virtualizing the RAN decouples software and hardware functionality enabling the network to be built on general purpose hardware, allowing the use of  Common Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware, resulting in greater agility when it comes to the introduction of new products and services.

This virtualization will also lower the barrier to entry for new vendors in the ecosystem, accelerating innovation and reducing operating costs.

“Massive scale IOT solutions, more robust consumer devices and solutions, AR/VR, remote healthcare, autonomous robotics in manufacturing environments, and ubiquitous smart city solutions are only some of the ways we will be able to deliver the promise of the digital world.  Advancements in virtualization technology are critical steps towards that realization,” commented Koeppe.

In early 2019, Verizon made its first announcement related to network virtualization when it introduced cloud-native technology in a live wireless core network environment and then demonstrated the technology in a successful trial of the 5G standalone core in July 2020.

More recently, Verizon launched 5G mobile edge compute live for developers with AWS Wavelength at Verizon’s 5G Edge locations in Boston and the Bay Area.

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