Arm Ltd. Today detailed a new initiative to advance the development of 5G technologies and revealed that the project has the backing of several major chipmakers, as well as other market players.
The initiative will see the company partner with Tech Mahindra Ltd. to establish a new Arm 5G solutions lab. The lab will provide a technology test environment in which hardware manufacturers, software vendors and cloud operators can demonstrate new networking solutions. Arm is also considering companies collaborating with each other on 5G projects.
Tech Mahindra, the company Arm is partnering with to launch the 5G Solutions Lab, is a publicly traded IT services provider. It plays an important role in the carrier ecosystem. The company works with technology companies that manufacture 5G products, as a research and development partner, and also provides system integration services to operators upgrading their networks from previous generation LTE technology.
The background behind Arm’s plan to build an industrial collaboration platform around 5G is that the technology is poised to dramatically change the way carriers operate their networks. One of the main changes is that with 5G, operators can implement a new approach to network operations known as Open RAN. Arm’s lab could help broaden adoption of the approach.
RAN in Open RAN stands for radio access network, the industrial term for an operator’s cellular telephone towers. Historically, operators purchased most of the components needed to build cell towers from a single supplier, limiting their technological options. The open RAN concept allows products from multiple vendors to be mixed and matched, an approach that could allow network operators to build their infrastructure more efficiently than ever before.
For the mixing and matching of different 5G components to become convenient, technology providers will need to ensure the interoperability of their products. This is a requirement that the Arm 5G Solutions Lab could help the industry meet. Having an industrial collaboration hub where different companies, including hardware and software vendors, can work together to make sure their products work well with each other, could help advance the adoption of the ‘Open RAN.
Arm says the initiative is supported by Nvidia Corp., NXP Semiconductors NV and Qualcomm Inc., which have actively expanded their 5G product portfolio in recent quarters. Google LLC’s cloud business is also involved, along with more than half a dozen other hardware manufacturers, software vendors, and operators.
Arm’s launch of the lab underscores the company’s key role in the 5G ecosystem. Its chip designs are used in many 5G support hardware solutions in the market. Much of the smartphones and tablets that connect to carriers’ 5G networks also use Arm-based silicon.
“This has been a pivotal year in the adoption of 5G,” wrote Chris Bergey, senior vice president and general manager of Arm’s infrastructure business, in a statement. blog post today. “5G commercial networks are now available in more than 60 markets around the world. On top of that, the number of 5G connections is expected to reach 692 million worldwide by the end of this year. This is only the beginning and in the years to come more infrastructure will be needed to reach the true potential of 5G, the majority of which will be powered by Arm-based chips. “
Another goal of the Arm 5G Solutions Lab will be to encourage the implementation of emerging 5G use cases. Arm’s Bergey has listed native RAN intelligence controller projects for small cells and the cloud among the use cases the new lab will aim to encourage. Both are poised to become important parts of 5G networks.
Small cells are miniature cell towers that help operators create new sources of income in the business market. Operators are using the technology to enable corporate clients to set up dedicated 5G networks in locations such as factories. A 5G network can offer faster performance than more standard connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi, which simplifies tasks such as exchanging data wirelessly between factory robots.
RAN Intelligence Controller technology, another item Arm expects to be on the lab’s agenda, is an important software component of operators’ infrastructure. The software is responsible for coordinating many systems that make up a 5G network and also helps to optimize their performance.
“The Arm 5G Solutions Lab serves as a focal point where software and hardware developers, operators and cloud service providers can come together to define key performance indicators, plans and deployment guides to help bringing innovations in 5G to life and ultimately generating revenue faster, ”Bergey wrote. . “We envision the Lab as a catalyst for the Arm ecosystem to develop and deploy a 5G network infrastructure that leverages the inherent performance, power and cost benefits of the Arm architecture. “
Arm plans to launch the lab in early 2022.