Dell preps open telecom lab in Ireland

  • Dell is increasing its efforts to support open networking developments
  • It has formed the Dell Open Telecom Ecosystem Community
  • This builds on the work already underway at its Open Telecom Ecosystem Lab in Texas
  • And now it’s opening another lab in Ireland to attract more European partners

IT giant Dell Technologies has ramped up its efforts to support the open networking sector with the launch of a new telecom ecosystem community and plans for a new open testing lab that will be based in Cork in the Republic of Ireland.

The Dell Open Telecom Ecosystem Community was actually unveiled, at the same time as many other industry developments, as the doors to this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona were opened. Dell, along with many others in the industry, is seeking ways to make it easier for network operators to discover, test and deploy open, disaggregated network systems that can deliver best-of-breed capabilities, and believes it can help by bringing together technology and telco partners, and build on the work underway at Dell’s Open Telecom Ecosystem Lab in Round Rock, Texas, to lessen the systems integration load and share insights and knowledge. Wind River is an enthusiastic early participant in the community – see this announcement.  

It’s just one of a number of major industry names collaborating with Dell. Samsung Networks, which is emerging as one of the major suppliers to network operators in early Open RAN deployments, is integrating its centralised unit (CU) and distributed unit (DU) software with Dell’s XR8000 and XR5610 servers which, the IT tech giant claims in this blog, are “purpose-built for RAN environments and provide the performance and power consumption characteristics required in RAN deployments.” 

Together with Red Hat, it has developed Telecom Infrastructure Blocks for Red Hat,  which comprises the “hardware, software and subscriptions network operators need to build, scale out and power core network functions using Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes.”

And in the key area of layer 1 acceleration, which is important if Open RAN deployments are to achieve performance parity with traditional integrated radio access network systems, Dell is expanding its partnerships. Adding to the work already underway with Fujitsu and Marvell, Dell is to work with Nokia to “integrate and validate a solution combining Nokia’s 5G Cloud RAN software and Cloud RAN SmartNIC in-line Layer 1 accelerator card with Dell’s open infrastructure, including Dell PowerEdge servers,” while it will work with Qualcomm on the development of a 5G virtualised DU by combining Dell PowerEdge XR8000 and XR5610 servers with the Qualcomm X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card.

In addition, the IT vendor is collaborating with Amdocs on enabling on-premises deployments of 5G standalone (SA) core capabilities (specifically policy control and charging functionality), and with Juniper Networks on cell site server consolidation and energy efficiency. 

To help support this work and attract others into collaborative partnerships, Dell is expanding the capabilities of its Open Telecom Ecosystem Lab in Texas, which has been used extensively by Dish Wireless as it builds out its 5G Open RAN-based network in the US, by enhancing it self-certification services with new test lines, including a Wind River Studio cloud software platform test-line to add to the existing Red Hat and VMware test lines. According to Dell, its self-certification process is an “automated, simple and free process for independent software vendors (ISVs) to verify their solutions on carrier-grade Dell hardware.” 

It is also adding an Open Telecom Ecosystem Lab (OTEL) facility in Cork, Ireland, where some open network test engineers are already based. They have already been helping partners, such as VMware, to ensure their systems are ready for deployment in Europe, which has its own regulatory and, increasingly, security requirements. 

“Working with the Dell OTEL engineering team in Cork, Ireland, allows us to help meet CSP needs for validating solutions in [the] region,” noted Lakshmi Mandyam, VP of product management and strategic alliances at VMware. “Our collaboration brings together best-of-breed offerings like VMware Telco Cloud Platform and Dell PowerProtect Data Manager to enable protection for the entire VMware Telco Cloud Platform stack and help accelerate CSPs’ time to market,” he added. 

So Dell is doing what it can to provide network operators with some of the assurance they need that Open RAN elements are compatible and compliant with their requirements. But what’s important, too, is that such efforts do not happen in isolation, otherwise the market becomes too fragmented, ultimately adding a different layer of complexity, which will only serve to leave operators wary of dipping their toes into the open networking waters. 

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

Email Newsletters

Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.