Author: Mo Jabbari
5G is going to be both revolutionary and transformative. We will have networks capable of supporting a million connections in a square kilometer. And this could pave the way for new use cases like smart cities, autonomous vehicles, Industrial IoT, mobile broadband and many more. We’ve all enjoyed the benefits of connectivity for some time, but the quality of communications and the quantity of connections ushered in by 5G will change our relationship with data and digital services.
Image: 5G is both revolutionary and transformative compared to previous generation of networks
In order for 5G to become ubiquitous like the previous generation of networks, like 3G and 4G, there are going to need to be fundamental shifts in the way the wireless industry operates. Unlike those previous generations, 5G will be far more demanding in terms of the power consumption and computing capacity to process the heavy deluge of data and connections that it can handle. With the multitude of use cases that 5G will bring upon, we will need lot more standards in the equipment – both hardware and software – so the wireless industry can come together to innovate and deploy 5G globally. Open RAN adoption within the industry is a great testament for this.
With over 70% of the world’s population using Arm technology daily and with over 200 billion Arm chips shipped so far, the Arm ecosystem plays a huge role in enabling 5G from endpoints all the way to the cloud with a rich portfolio of solutions to meet the power, performance and scalability requirements. Our goal for 5G and Open RAN is to enable wireless operators and vendors to deploy 5G infrastructure that is open, interoperable and cloud-native.
An Open RAN 5G Solution with Power-Performance Efficiency
At Arm, we want to change how the industry thinks about deploying infrastructure for 5G. The 5G ecosystem vendors shouldn’t have to choose between performance or power efficiency. Arm Neoverse helps deliver a solution that brings the best of both worlds.
With Arm-based processors, compute capacity can be scaled (using a greater number of cores) within the same power budget. This ability to increase the compute density with lower power consumption into a compact server hardware helps with saving space, reducing costs and boosting reliability – all of which are advantageous for a 5G small cell use case.
We have worked with Benetel in deploying a powerful use case showcasing an Open RAN ecosystem innovation by integrating multiple vendor offerings. This particular deployment is an example where a Benetel Radio Unit (RU) is integrated with a ‘network-in-box’ solution that contains 5G distributed unit (DU), centralized unit (CU), core network edge server, and customer edge applications inside one server.
The choice of Benetel as a Radio Unit vendor was obvious. Benetel is a pioneer in 5G RUs and is in a unique position as one of the few companies that produces currently 5G 7.2x O-RUs. Benetel`s engineering expertise plus its robust product portfolio and roadmap makes it a strong partner in the OpenRAN space for Arm ecosystem partners to collaborate with.
Image: Arm’s OpenRAN Deployment Architecture with Benetel’s Radio Unit
The Open RAN implementation relies on a Gigabyte server, featuring Ampere Altra processors based on the Arm Neoverse N1 CPU architecture. Benetel RUs have been integrated with Phluido upper L1 and Capgemini CU/DU solutions.
Building this use case has taught us a lot about the hardware tuning process, as well as addressing some of the software gaps. We learned a lot about how to make Benetel, Phluido, Capgemini systems work together and how the Ampere operating system needed to be tuned. We added and implemented some real-time kernels for the system to work better. Open RAN in its purest form is always an integration of solutions from different companies. We were able to achieve that successfully with this use case.
This integrated system is now fully functional and can work as a standalone system connecting to commercial phones and achieving 80% of theoretical data throughput limit. Arm, Benetel and partners plan to publicly showcase this solution as a live demonstration at upcoming tradeshows.
Accelerating Open RAN Innovation through Arm 5G Solutions Lab
The Arm-based Open RAN ecosystem has been growing rapidly in areas such as small cells, macro cells, cloud cells, packet core, and RAN Intelligence Controller (RIC). To accelerate innovation, the industry needs to move from siloed one-to-one engagements to a many-to-many collaboration. There are infrastructural bottlenecks – such as access to hardware, test equipment and lab space – as well as operational bottlenecks like multi-party agreements, access control and security. We recently announced Arm 5G Solutions Lab with the aim to remove these elements of friction and accelerate innovation for network infrastructure by providing a place for Arm’s hardware and software ecosystem partners to come together and demonstrate end-to-end solutions in a live test environment. “Benetel is delighted to be part of the new Arm 5G Solutions Lab”, says Olli Andersson Benetel`s SVP Americas. “Collaborating with Arm provides continuous innovation to the 5G industry”.
Our goal is to enable the above use cases, and various others, to be tested by customers through the Arm 5G Solutions Lab. For more information, check out https://www.arm.com/campaigns/5g-solutions-lab
About the Author:
Mo Jabbari is the Senior Segment Marketing Manager at Infrastructure line of business at Arm Inc, overseeing go-to-market activities for 5G OpenRAN initiatives at Arm.
He is also working with industry alliances such as O-RAN and TIP to champion the Arm ecosystem. He has multiple years of experience in product management of low-level wireless software to full field-ready hardware products. Before Arm, he has worked at Radisys as product manager for LTE L2/L3 protocol stack and partner relationships for 5G. Before that, he worked at Octasic as the product manager for 2G/3G/4G L1 software in addition to smallcell and Network-in-a-box hardware products.
Mo has a Ph.D. from Concordia University at Montreal in Telecommunications with a focus on wireless communications.
See more about Benetel Open RAN Radio Units at https://benetel.com/products/