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HPE, Qualcomm team for virtualized 5G network kit

Pair aim to deliver the industry's first fully optimised vDU

HPE continues edge into telecoms, and is now working with Qualcomm to on hardware for 5G networks, specifically a next generation of 5G distributed units based on HPE servers and Qualcomm's 5G RAN (radio access network) accelerator cards to support high capacity and low-latency workloads.

The two firms said that this new collaboration aims to meet the demands of next-generation networks, and will focus on delivering high-performance, cloud-native, OpenRAN-compliant 5G solutions for network operators.

HPE and Qualcomm said they hoped to deliver the industry's first fully optimised virtualized distributed unit (vDU) solution, where a DU includes both the baseband processing and RF functions in 5G network deployments.

This will be comprised of Qualcomm's 5G DU X100 Accelerator Card combined with HPE's HPE ProLiant DL110 Gen10 Plus Telco Server. The latter is a small footprint 1U server specially designed for telecoms applications, but can still support up to four high-performance accelerator cards, which lowers power consumption even while supporting dense 5G mid-band and massive MIMO use cases, according to the two firms.

The ProLiant DL110 Gen10 Plus Telco Server is based on Intel's third-gen Xeon Scalable silicon with up to 1TB memory, and features a short depth chassis designed specifically for edge computing and able to operate in harsh environmental conditions. Qualcomm's 5G DU X100 Accelerator Card is a PCIe inline accelerator card that the wireless firm introduced last year. It is designed to power cloud-native and virtualized 5G networks by offloading compute-intensive 5G baseband processing from the host CPU.

The 5G DU X100 Accelerator Card features concurrent sub-6GHz and mmWave baseband support, which simplifies 5G deployments by providing a turnkey solution for deployment with OpenRAN fronthaul and 5G NR layer 1 High processing, Qualcomm said.

Tom Craig, vice president of HPE's communications technology group, said that the combined solution would help telecoms operators to address the rigorous and ever-changing demands of 5G.

"Our industry-leading carrier-grade infrastructure integrated with Qualcomm's innovative technology will further benefit our customers as they expand the deployment of their 5G networks," he said in a statement.

Durga Malladi, Qualcomm's senior vice president for 5G, mobile broadband and infrastructure, said that the collaboration between the two firms would further the capabilities and efficiencies of 5G virtualized networks.

The move follows HPE's launch of its OpenRAN Solution Stack last year, while the firm also announced a deal last month that saw Japanese telecoms provider Optage sign up to deploy HPE's 5G Core Stack for a testbed network as part of a government-sponsored initiative. ®

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