Edge Computing

IBM and Airspan to accelerate 5G OpenRAN in Europe

OpenRAN testbed is intended to advance the development of Open RAN software and hardware solutions

IBM and Airspan are to collaborate on the launch of a 5G-enabled OpenRAN testbed across the IBM Watson IoT Center in Munich, Germany and IBM’s Global Industry Solution Center (GISC) in Nice, France, in an effort to showcase long-distance control over 5G-enabled edge computing.

The goal is to help clients across Europe innovate and develop multi-vendor solutions designed to address different customer use case requirements, based on open, interoperable standards, while optimizing performance. IBM Global Business Services and Airspan plan to work together to accelerate the adoption of OpenRAN technology and its ecosystem incorporating IBM’s leading global hybrid cloud and AI orchestration services.

IBM Global Business Services is focused on processes, methodologies, and edge experience to deliver value and transformational projects with emerging technologies.

The OpenRAN testbed is intended to advance the development of OpenRAN software and hardware solutions, and end-to-end interoperability testing with private 5G stand-alone core networks. The two companies plan to provide partners and customers with the opportunity to collaborate, integrate and test features for next generation campus networks.

As part of the intended collaboration, Airspan Networks is providing its OpenRAN AirVelocity 2700 indoor radio unit and virtualized Open RAN Centralized Unit (vCU) and Distributed Unit (vDU) OpenRANGE software to help customers test and validate 5G private network solutions using OpenRAN.

IBM is expected to provide its Global Business Services technology integration services, as well as IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation and IBM Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps, to allow customers to more efficiently manage and orchestrate edge cloud implementation and applications. In addition, the IBM Global Business Services team is planning to implement a visual inspection application for customers to further extend Industry 4.0 5G edge computing use cases on OpenRAN.

“Open approaches and standards-based technologies are vital to help unleash the full potential of 5G and edge computing. That’s why, in collaboration with Airspan, we hope to work to advance emerging use cases that harness OpenRAN and bring new value to telecom clients.

The planned expansion of the OpenRAN testbed will allow us to demonstrate these capabilities as we accelerate 5G and edge computing innovation,” said Marisa Viveros, Vice President of Strategy and Offerings, Telecom, Media and Entertainment Industry at IBM.

This year, IBM announced the OpenRAN Center of Excellence in Spain to accelerate the progress of OpenRAN and standards-based technologies in Europe. In May 2021, Airspan announced the opening of a 5G Innovation Lab in the UK as a showcase and demonstration facility for partners, customers and government institutions, to focus on the development of OpenRAN software, 5G sub 6 GHz and mmWave indoor and outdoor equipment, and private network use cases.

“Through critical collaboration with leaders like IBM and testing in these labs, which could help accelerate the development of OpenRAN and 5G solutions and the open architecture ecosystem, we believe Airspan can continue to be at the forefront of innovation and industry disruption through end-to-end OpenRAN solutions,” said Airspan Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Henrik Smith-Petersen.

IBM Global Business Services and Airspan are working toward definitive agreements detailing joint plans to accelerate the adoption of OpenRAN technology and its ecosystem incorporating IBM’s leading global hybrid cloud and AI orchestration services.

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