Nokia Announces Collaboration with 3 Major Cloud Hyperscalers

By Chantal Polsonetti

Acquisition or Partnership

Finnish telecom provider Nokia announced collaborations with AWS, Google, and Microsoft designed to accelerate its Open RAN and Cloud RAN leadership by leveraging its advanced equipment portfolio and combining it with the cloud.  Nokia AirFrame Open Edge, which distributes computing capacity to the network edge, drives implementation of Cloud RAN, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), and 5G, will now run services from the various cloud providers.  These initiatives are designed to expand Nokia’s ecosystem partnerships, drive end-user business outcomes essential for monetizing 4G/5G deployments, and lead to development of solutions and use cases to solve key 5G scenarios for businesses worldwide.

Nokia and AWS

Nokia’s agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to research and enable Cloud RAN (vRAN) and Open RAN technologies aims to develop innovative proof of concepts (PoC) to explore and enable Cloud RAN and related technologies.  The initiative will see engineering teams from both companies research how the combination of Nokia’s RAN (Radio Access Network), Open RAN, Cloud RAN and edge solutions can operate seamlessly with AWS Outposts.  This collaboration will enable communications service providers (CSPs) and enterprises with 5G connectivity to utilize AWS across the topology of the mobile network.  Operators will be able to simplify the network virtualization and platform layers for the Core and RAN network functions by leveraging cloud agility and scalability.

AWS offers a comprehensive suite of on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs on a pay-as-you-go basis.  This collaboration will allow Nokia to leverage AWS services, such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), AWS Outposts, AWS Local Zones, and other related services, for automating network functionality or end customer application deployment, scaling, and management.

The AWS collaboration will cover three distinct areas.  First, the project will focus on onboarding and validating Nokia’s 5G vDU (virtualized distributed unit) on AWS Outposts using Amazon EKS for far edge cloud or on-premises deployments.  The second area will examine the implementation of Nokia’s 5G vCU (virtualized centralized unit) with AWS Outposts and AWS Local Zones using Amazon EKS as a cloud native deployment.  The third part will build a proof of concept for an end-to-end solution with Nokia’s 5G Cloud RAN and 5G standalone Core network running on AWS, where end enterprise users can leverage 5G for use cases such as industrial applications.

Nokia and Google Cloud

Nokia’s partnership with Google Cloud will focus on joint solutions combining Nokia’s Radio Access Network (RAN), Open RAN, Cloud RAN (vRAN) and edge cloud technologies with Google’s edge computing platform and applications ecosystem.  The initial collaboration, which is already underway at Nokia’s Espoo headquarters, will pursue several different workstreams.  The first, which will focus on Cloud RAN, will integrate Nokia’s 5G vDU and 5G vCU with Google’s edge computing platform running on Anthos.  Nokia’s 5G standalone network with vCU and 5G core will also be tested on Google Cloud’s Anthos platform as a cloud-native deployment.  Nokia will also work to certify its Nokia AirFrame Open Edge hardware with Anthos.

Nokia and Microsoft

Nokia’s collaboration with Microsoft will combine Nokia’s Cloud RAN (vRAN) technologies with Microsoft Azure cloud-based services and developer ecosystem.  The project, which will run in three stages, will see Nokia combine its mobile network solutions including Cloud RAN, Open RAN, Radio Access Controller (RIC) and multi- MEC with the Azure Private Edge Zone.  Azure Private Edge Zone enables data processing close to the end user, addressing ultra-low latency, high throughout 5G-based applications such as real-time robotics, mixed reality, or immersive gaming.  The initiative aims to achieve better performance and end user experiences for third-party app developers via the Azure ecosystem when exposed to the network. 

Nokia will also integrate its 5G RAN with Azure 4G/5G core to demonstrate support for enterprise use cases required by Microsoft’s customers.  Additionally, Microsoft and Nokia will explore further opportunities to incorporate Nokia Airframe Open Edge server as part of its telco edge strategy.  Both parties plan to explore additional areas in the future, such as network slicing.

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