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Nokia Partner Elisa to Successfully Complete Europe’s First Cloud RAN Trial

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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As part of its continuous effort to deliver higher levels of network automation, Nokia, in partnership with Elisa, has today announced that they have successfully completed the industry’s first trial of Cloud RAN powered by in-line acceleration. The trial took place at Elisa’s headquarters in Finland and utilized its commercial 5G Standalone RAN and 5G Core.

The trial is based on Nokia’s anyRAN strategy, which was developed to guarantee that cloud RAN would be more feature-rich, energy-efficient, and operate at a higher level than purpose-built RAN. Each of these elements is guaranteed by using In-Line layer 1 (L1) acceleration, which also gives users the freedom to choose between x86- and ARM-based ecosystems.

Elisa is a pioneer in telecommunications and digital services, and in 5G, which is on the mission of a sustainable future through digitalization. It provides sustainable solutions for over 2.8 million consumer, corporate, and public administration customers in our core markets of Finland and Estonia, as well as in over 100 countries internationally.

Europe’s First Cloud RAN Trial

Using 100MHz cells on the n78 spectrum band (3.5 GHz band), which is the world’s most popular 5G capacity band, the trial was conducted over the air. With a variety of test and commercial consumer devices, data calls were executed successfully. The trial utilized an x86 server architecture and a RedHat CaaS layer in addition to a Nokia reference design. Elisa’s 5G core network and the feature performance provided by Nokia’s anyRAN methodology allowed for instant interoperability with 5G user equipment.

Meanwhile, Elisa is working to cloudify the network, which it sees as a crucial step in fostering innovation and boosting the scalability of network services. Over the following few years, Finland is projected to see the first commercial deployments, which will advance the cloudification of key networks. Higher levels of network automation, enabling the adaptability and agility of end-user service provisioning, will be delivered through cloudification.

Using Nokia’s anyRAN to Achieve High-Performance Cloud RAN

With the help of an ecosystem of business partners, Nokia’s anyRAN is an open strategy for developing radio access networks that are future-proof. It unlocks a competitive advantage through collaboration. It’s intended to increase the choice of cloud infrastructure software, hardware, and technology suppliers available to mobile carriers and businesses. With Nokia, operators have the chance to transition to hybrid RAN, in which deployments of cloud RAN and purpose-built RAN coexist to provide reliable, high-quality performance.

Mark Atkinson, Nokia’s Head of RAN, said this significant experiment with our long-term partner Elisa attests to the viability and maturity of Nokia’s anyRAN strategy as well as our open Cloud RAN architecture driven by In-Line L1 acceleration.

“This important trial with our long-term partner, Elisa, confirms the effectiveness and maturity of Nokia’s anyRAN approach and our open Cloud RAN architecture powered by In-Line L1 acceleration. Unlike other suppliers, we commit to featuring parity between Cloud RAN and purpose-built RAN and we ensure that our customers can flexibly evolve to Cloud RAN with choices in Cloud infrastructure and data center hardware. Nokia’s approach to Cloud RAN means we will partner with communication service providers (CSPs) and enterprises to drive efficiency, innovation, openness, and scale in their RAN evolution.”

On the other hand, Markus Kinnunen, Elisa’s Vice President of cloud Services, said: “Elisa is a pioneer in automation and in introducing the benefits of network cloudification to Finnish customers. This first call using Cloud RAN is a remarkable milestone on our cloudification journey. After already taking the first steps in cloudifying the telco network core, this transformation is now also expanding towards the access network. The key benefits of Cloud RAN include the diverse network service platforms and scalability for different kinds of customer needs. In the future, we can provide more agile network services to our customers, whose network usage is transforming closer to the network edge.”


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