Empowering telecom operators to deploy virtualized RAN architecture using O-RAN, Altran and Lenovo will demonstrate today at MWC Shanghai a new solution for the orchestration of 5G.

As part of the new collaboration, Altran’s 5G gNB and ETSI-compliant VNFM solutions will be combined with Lenovo’s Cloud OS virtualization platform, lowering costs, accelerating service delivery and ensuring high availability for operators deploying 5G networks.

For the partnership, Altran, the global leader in engineering and R&D services, used its 5G gNB virtualized central unit (vCU) running on general-purpose servers with its VNF Manager. Lenovo, the Intelligent Transformation company, integrated its Cloud-OS Orchestration Platform to demonstrate high-capacity and scalable 3GPP-compliant vCU.

RAN cloudification is a fundamental tenet of O-RAN architecture, which is needed for operators to deliver network functions virtualization infrastructure (NFVI) and virtualized infrastructure management (VIM) to enhance virtualization platforms. NFVI includes commercial off-the-shelf hardware, including servers and switches, combined with virtualization software that enables abstraction as virtual machines (VMs) or containers.

The VIM acts as a cloud operating system (OS), weaving multiple servers together and managing them as a single distributed system.

“Altran is an active member of the O-RAN Alliance and is committed to ensuring that its gNB solution is aligned with the Alliance’s principles of building open and smarter virtualized networks that are embedded with machine learning systems to make the network more intelligent and autonomous,” N. Mohan Rangan, Group SVP and Chief Engineering Officer at Altran said.

“This partnership clearly illustrates the capabilities of a cloud platform as defined in O-RAN architecture for 5G gNB vCU scale out.”

Altran’s virtualized 5G RAN solution is integrated with a programmable VNF Lifecycle Management solution that can also be integrated with other operator virtual network functions, as well as with third-party orchestrators. Its policy engine correlates key performance indicators from VNFs and virtual infrastructure managers to perform policy actions across data center and edge locations. 

Lenovo’s carrier-grade virtualization platform provides high performance and reliability, as well as low latency. Its cloud OS includes support for multiple networking interfaces, high performance data plane (DP), and rapid fault detection and recovery to improve availability.

“Lenovo is a member of the O-RAN Alliance and serves as co-chair for the Cloudification and Orchestration WG. We fully embrace the O-RAN vision and actively develop open, cloudified, and intelligent 5G RAN products based on the O-RAN architecture.

“Working with industry partners, such as Altran, Lenovo is committed to building a global ecosystem that facilitates openness and innovation for 5G and beyond,” said Dr. Tong Li, Distinguished Researcher and Director, Lenovo.

Altran’s 5G RAN framework is fully compliant to 3GPP specifications and offers both standalone and non-standalone modes, creating a scalable solution with support for millimeter wave and sub-6 GHz frequencies. The software framework solution supports Layer-3/RRM, Layer-2 SW functionality pre-integrated with PHY from multiple vendors to ensure interoperability.

The joint solution will be demoed at Lenovo’s booth, located at N1.B100 throughout MWC Shanghai, Asia’s leading event for next-generation technology.