In December, Kontron, a provider of IoT/Embedded Computing Technology (ECT), announced the launch of its ME1210 mobile edge platform to simplify the deployment of Open RAN. The new platform caters to service providers who seek hardware to unlock the Open RAN promise – complete network elasticity as a means to achieve a fully virtualized cloud RAN architecture.
Driven by 5G, the telco industry is moving away from closed, proprietary architectures and embracing open, multi-vendor system designs to customize their networks based on vRAN (virtualized radio access network) and MEC (mobile edge computing) use cases. Open RAN technology is opening up opportunities for service providers who wish to leverage the principles of disaggregation using commodity hardware. The coupling of the two results in faster deployments and significant reductions in CAPEX and OPEX.
In close collaboration with leading Open RAN software vendor Mavenir, Kontron is addressing industry pain points by introducing a series of carrier-grade commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers optimized for demanding telco environments. Based on the same design concept as its entry-level counterpart, the ME1100, the newly released ME1210 distributed unit (DU) supports more cores, more memory and increased density in a compact, ruggedized form factor. The series will also feature an outdoor version called the RS1210 which will be available in two IP65 variants to resist dust, water, ice and vibrations.
Featuring the latest Intel® Xeon® D-2100 processor, the powerful yet versatile ME1210 platform complies with any major vRAN software. It supports 2 x PCIe expansion slots for hardware acceleration, an embedded on-board switch and daisy chain configuration connecting multiple DUs together. The optional timing and synchronization module enables 1588v2 transparent clock with Sync-E or GNSS input with OCXO to support 4 hour hold-over requirements.
Security has always been a concern from a software perspective and has now become a focal point for hardware. In response, Kontron has developed a Secure Edge Management Server that helps control service costs and minimize truck roll in order to make Open RAN a long-term reality.
“vRAN solutions are gaining rapid acceptance as operators require more industrialized, scalable solutions. With Kontron’s ME1210, we’re looking forward to supporting many new vRAN deployments” states Marko Babovic, head of RAN Product Management, at Mavenir. “We’re excited this provides the possibility to unlock for our customers a newfound freedom that promises to facilitate mobile network deployments at the edge.”
“The reality is most commodity servers don’t have the resiliency to run at the far edge where DUs are required” explains Antoine Sirois, director Product Management, at Kontron. “We’re not only reducing costs by disaggregating hardware and software, but we’ve invested in a real-world solution to help make Open RAN possible.”