Samsung Announces Open and Virtualized 5G RAN Devices

Samsung announced the launch of its new 5G RAN devices on Tuesday, which the company says are not only fully open-access products, but also fully virtualized,media reported. This means that these products can be mixed with devices from other vendors and can be run on any x86 hardware. “Samsung is a big fan of open systems,” explains Alok Shah, Samsung’s vice president of strategy, marketing and business development. This is what our customers require. “

Samsung Announces Open and Virtualized 5G RAN Devices

According to Alok Shah, Samsung’s new 5G RAN products include a virtualization centralized unit (vCU), a virtualization distribution unit (vDU) and a series of RF units (Ru). Samsung first virtualized its CU last April and now offers a virtualized DU, he said. Alok Shah said it had been offering open access to its products for more than a year, a position he noted highlighted in tests by AT?amp;T and Verizon.

Samsung said it will conduct vDU field trials in North America later this year.

Alok Shah said Samsung’s latest product launch highlights the company’s continued progress in the global wireless market. In the past few months, Samsung has announced several new wireless network supply agreements, including U.S. Cellular, Videotron and Telus, Japan KDDI and Spark New Zealand.

The Samsung executive said Samsung enjoys a unique position in the U.S. wireless market because it supports operators in moving toward open and virtualized RAN and makes its own 5G chips at a factory in Austin, Texas. This is an important distinction, and is increasingly requiring the purchase of 5G equipment manufactured in the U.S. that complies with the Open RAN principles. These principles, driven by the O-RAN Alliance, are designed to allow operators to mix devices and software from multiple vendors when deploying networks — a breakthrough in traditional network design.

Alok Shah points out that Samsung is not alone, nor is it just selling software. He explained that Samsung has partnered with companies such as Qualcomm, HPE, Marvell and Xilinx to develop its base station products, for example, and that Samsung has agreed with HPE on 5G core network software and edge computing products.

He said Samsung will continue to offer millimeter-wave products that combine 5G RF with DU to make devices more efficient in space and efficiency.

Samsung’s release of open and virtualized RAN devices comes at an important time for the wireless industry. Nokia just announced its own Open RAN last month. Open RAN devices are also gaining momentum among smaller U.S. carriers, and the U.S. government hopes to replace Huawei’s devices with Open RAN devices.

Media analysis said that such a development will undoubtedly put pressure on Ericsson to further develop open RAN products.

Samsung is currently the third-largest u.S. supplier of 5G devices, and its customers include AT?amp;T and Verizon.