February 27, 2024

Parallel Wireless Marks a Worldwide First: 5G Open RAN SW Runs on Both Arm and X86-Powered DUs in Bristol

NASHUA, N.H., December 12, 2023- Parallel Wireless, Inc., a leading provider of Open RAN solutions, proudly announces a groundbreaking achievement with the successful operation of its 5G Open RAN hardware-agnostic solution in the United Kingdom. This deployment, a collaboration with Arm®, BT Group, NXP® Semiconductors, Real Wireless, and the University of Bristol, with funding from the UK’s Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT/DCMS), marks a significant development in the evolution of 5G Open RAN technology.

Parallel Wireless, in partnership with the University of Bristol, deployed a 5G standalone Open RAN solution in the “5GUK testbed” – a private network built to facilitate research and innovation – situated in the picturesque Bristol Harbor. The project signifies a monumental first as it demonstrates the ability to decouple a common DU (Distributed Unit) software stack from the underlying compute platform and validates the approach on both the Intel® x86 and Arm® architectures, in an outdoor 5G installation.

Advancing 5G Networks Through Innovation

Parallel Wireless’s pioneering deployment of Arm GPP-based Distributed Units (DUs) in a 5G Open RAN installation offers a strategic advantage that cannot be overstated. By embracing Arm processors, the project opens the door to unprecedented flexibility, enabling operators to choose processors from a wide array of manufacturers. This move allows for a broader range of hardware options alongside the traditional x86 platforms. Such versatility not only promises cost-effective alternatives but also holds the potential for substantial energy savings, marking a significant step towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly network infrastructure. Additionally, it unlocks a wealth of supply chain options, empowering operators with the freedom to select the components that best suit their unique needs, ultimately enhancing the adaptability and resilience of their networks.

University of Bristol 5GUK Outdoor Network

This centralized deployment encompasses three cell sites in the Bristol Harbor. The outdoor installation is complemented by an additional indoor cell situated in the University of Bristol Smart Internet lab, exclusively designated for testing and monitoring purposes.

Two of the outdoor cell sites employ Distributed Units with a Physical Layer powered by Arm-based chipsets from NXP. The third cell site leverages an Intel x86 processor.

The Parallel Wireless 5G Open RAN solution utilizes a 5G standalone core and boasts a 100MHz bandwidth for unmatched connectivity. These sites, deployed as centralized RAN where the entire vBBU (i.e., both CU (Centralized Unit) & DU) operates from a remote data center and only the RU is at the cell site, serve as a private network, encompassing the following main components:

● AttoCore 5G core (capable of running on x86 and Arm processors)
● Parallel Wireless Centralized Unit (CU) operating on x86 virtual Baseband Units (vBBU)
● Parallel Wireless Distributed Unit (DU) operating on vBBUs using Intel x86 and NXP Layerscape® Arm® based processors
● Benetel 5G Open RAN Radio Unit (RU) operating in the n77 band

Reinventing the 5G Landscape

This is the first-ever successful deployment of Arm-based GPP DU-PHYs in a real 5G outdoor installation, coexisting harmoniously with stations powered by alternative architectures. In collaboration with DSIT, the UK Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology, Parallel Wireless has marked a groundbreaking milestone in the journey of Open RAN solutions.

The deployment is an outcome of Parallel Wireless receiving the DSIT grant for its innovative Proteus project, which productizes processor-agnostic RAN solutions, adaptable for Intel’s x86 as well as Arm-based technologies.

The project has been operating successfully, showcasing the robust performance of the Parallel Wireless 5G Open RAN solution, ensuring a seamless experience for 5G User Equipment (UE).

Parallel Wireless President Baruch Navon expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This remarkable achievement is a testament to Parallel Wireless’s unwavering commitment to advancing open and flexible RAN solutions.”

Maria Cuevas, Networks Research Director, BT Group, said, “The success of this trial marks a positive step for Open RAN technology, demonstrating its potential to improve flexibility in the selection of the most suitable hardware technology for different radio deployment environments.”

Parallel Wireless’s dedication to innovation and commitment to pushing the boundaries of 5G technology have culminated in this historic achievement, underscoring its role as a trailblazer in the world of wireless communications.

About Parallel Wireless

Parallel Wireless stands at the forefront of open RAN architecture and solutions, on a mission to revolutionize the RAN ecosystem with innovative technologies. Headquartered in the United States and supported by R&D centers in the UK, India, and Israel, Parallel Wireless is a global pioneer, offering comprehensive All-G Macro Open RAN solutions. With a legacy dating back to 2012, Parallel Wireless boasts a rich portfolio of over 900 worldwide patent filings and has been honored with over 100 innovation awards. In the pursuit of excellence, Parallel Wireless is poised to usher in a transformative era, enhancing network performance, reducing carrier total cost of ownership (TCO), and elevating energy efficiency and spectral effectiveness in the telecommunications landscape.

About BT Group

BT Group is the UK’s leading provider of fixed and mobile telecommunications and related secure digital products, solutions, and services. We also provide managed telecommunications, security network, and IT infrastructure services to customers across 180 countries.

BT Group consists of three customer-facing units: Consumer serves individuals and families in the UK; Business covers companies and public services in the UK and internationally; Openreach is an independently governed, wholly-owned subsidiary wholesaling fixed access infrastructure services to its customers – over 650 communications providers across the UK.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

About DSIT (UK Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology)

The Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT) is dedicated to advancing scientific and technological research for the betterment of the United Kingdom. DSIT promotes innovation and technology-driven initiatives to drive progress and prosperity.

About the University of Bristol

The University of Bristol is a world-renowned institution committed to advancing research and education. With a rich history of innovation and discovery, the university plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of science, technology, and education.

About AttoCore

AttoCore is a UK specialist developer of 4G and 5G mobile core software. AttoCore’s 5G and 4G Core Software addresses the market for scalable mobile networks, especially those with a small footprint, high performance, and high-security requirements, such as Tactical and Military networks and Private Mobile Wireless Networks for Industrial and Enterprise mobile wireless applications.

About Real Wireless

Real Wireless is a leading independent wireless advisory firm. We bridge the gap between the wireless industry and wireless users. Our clients benefit from a comprehensive portfolio of specialists and custom tools that analyze radio network performance, techno-economic impact, and the business model implications of wireless systems. With this unmatched resource, Real Wireless is able to advise all user groups, spanning businesses to governments, operators, regulators, and technology companies on every aspect of wireless technology.

About Benetel

Benetel is introducing a variety of leading-edge Radio Units (RU) for the emerging, disaggregated 5G networks of the future with both indoor and outdoor solutions. Committed to supporting the evolving radio access networks around the world by producing hardware and related services that fully embrace the principle of Open RAN. Headquartered in Dublin, the organization’s technically proficient and highly experienced team drive real innovation in the roll-out of small cell infrastructure. With its broad portfolio of outstanding off-the-shelf solutions, covering a wide range of frequency bands and output powers, its services are rounded out with first-class design and test services.

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