China Unicom, Cavium test 5G M-CORD

18 Jul 2017

Cavium and China Unicom announced they are launching a program to test 5G technology that uses Cavium silicon-based white box hardware in mobile central office re-architected as data center (M-CORD) racks.

Unicom will use M-CORD racks with Cavium’s ThunderX ARM-based data center COTS servers and XPliant programmable SDN Ethernet switch-based white box switches, Cavium said in a company statement.

In addition, the M-CORD SDN/NFV software platform and hardware rack will disaggregate mobile infrastructure elements from the edge of the Radio Access Network (RAN) to a distributed mobile core and the ONOS and XOS SDN and orchestration software. This provides virtually turn-key operation in any central office or edge data center for a full NFV C-RAN deployment, the US-based semiconductor firm added.

Cavium said Unicom’s 5G trails will test different use cases that may benefit from using M-CORD, an open reference solution for service-driven 5G architecture. One use case is Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), which the companies demonstrated at Mobile World Congress Shanghai late last month. MEC is a network architecture that provides IT and cloud-computing capabilities at the cellular network.

Raj Singh, vice president and general manager of the network and communication group at Cavium said the two companies are working together to explore 5G target use cases leveraging the M-CORD SDN/NFV platform and to work towards field deployment.

“A homogenous hardware architecture fully optimized for NFV and 5G functions is a key prerequisite for field deployments,” said the executive. “This differentiated and highly scalable implementation of M-CORD platform using Cavium silicon based white box hardware will allow operators such as China Unicom to rapidly implement next generation network topologies.”

Cavium and Unicom will soon commence trials in several locations in mainland China to explore the new service, Singh added.

“Our collaboration with Cavium continues to deliver real progress and we are looking forward to trying M-CORD and virtualized RAN implementation in our network,” said Dr. Tang Xiongyan, China Unicom’s chief scientist of Network Technology Research Institute. “We believe that our partnership will provide significant benefits to both parties.”

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