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IBM and Airspan Networks develop 5G-enabled Open RAN in Europe

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IBM and Airspan Networks have announced plans to collaborate on the launch of a 5G-enabled Open RAN testbed.

The testbed will be deployed across the IBM Watson IoT Center in Munich, Germany and IBM’s Global Industry Solution Center (GISC) in Nice, France, to demonstrate long-distance control over 5G-enabled edge computing. 

The aim of the trial is to help clients across Europe develop multi-vendor solutions to meet different customer use case requirements, while optimising performance.

In addition, the Open RAN testbed aims to advance the development of Open RAN software and hardware solutions, as well as end-to-end interoperability testing with private 5G stand-alone core networks. Through this work, both companies plan to enable partners and customers to collaborate, integrate and test features for next gen campus networks.

“Open approaches and standards-based technologies are vital to help unleash the full potential of 5G and edge computing," said Marisa Viveros, vice president of strategy and offerings, telecom, media and entertainment industry at IBM.

"That’s why, in collaboration with Airspan, we hope to work to advance emerging use cases that harness Open RAN and bring new value to telecom clients. The planned expansion of the Open RAN testbed will allow us to demonstrate these capabilities as we accelerate 5G and edge computing innovation.”

For its part, Airspan Networks will provide its Open RAN Air Velocity 2700 indoor radio unit and virtualised Open RAN Centralised Unit (vCU) and Distributed Unit (vDU) OpenRANGE software to help customers test and validate 5G private network solutions using Open RAN.

While IBM will 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.

The IBM Global Business Services team will also implement a visual inspection application for customers to further extend Industry 4.0 5G edge computing use cases on Open RAN.

“Through critical collaboration with leaders like IBM and testing in these labs, which could help accelerate the development of Open RAN 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 Open RAN solutions,” said Henrik Smith-Petersen, chief sales and marketing officer at Airspan.

At the same time, IBM Global Business Services and Airspan are working toward definitive agreements for joint plans to accelerate the adoption of Open RAN technology and its ecosystem incorporating IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI orchestration services.