Driving 5G Innovation

How Dell Technologies is building collaborative partnerships across the telecommunications industry to further 5G innovation and value.

Dell was founded in 1984. That may be a long time in our fast-moving industry, but rest assured, we’re not your grandmother’s technology company. We’re always looking for new ways to create value, innovate and drive progress, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the telecommunications space.

A New Era of Telecommunications has Arrived

The telecom industry is rapidly entering a new chapter of 5G and edge-enabled connectivity built on open, cloud-native and software-defined networks. As monolithic, closed-network architectures fall by the wayside, a fast-growing ecosystem of vendors is enabling providers to access best-of-breed technology, increase network capacity and ultimately deliver lucrative new services to both consumer and enterprise.

But treading new ground is not without its challenges, and there remains a lot of work to be done before telecom fully realizes its open future. No single company can do this alone, and collaboration has already proven essential to advancing 5G innovation. Dell Technologies is currently collaborating with more than 30 established and emerging industry initiatives to overcome key strategic challenges, develop validated solutions, find diverse new talent and more.

Reshaping Radio Access Networks — Together

Telecommunications networks are undergoing a process of unprecedented transformation. Having shaken off historic vendor lock-in, operators and providers are now working to build a new breed of network capable of meeting strict SLAs for performance, availability and security. That means developing reference architectures, overcoming complex integration challenges and enabling automation to manage devices distributed across thousands of sites.

As a longstanding contributor to the O-RAN Alliance, Dell Technologies is participating in most of its active working groups. A recent example is the Cloudification and Orchestration Work Group, where we are focused on the decoupling of RAN software from underlying hardware platforms. Together with other members of the alliance, we are producing technology and reference designs that will allow users to leverage commodity hardware platforms for all parts of a RAN deployment.

We are also collaborating with leading partners like Intel and VMware to build an open network ecosystem. We are currently developing a cloud-native Open RAN reference architecture offering a complete solution deployed on Dell PowerEdge XR11, XR12 and R750 servers.

What’s more, Dell Technologies is one of only six vendors selected to be part of the next Gen Research Group (nGRG)’s Technical Oversight Committee. The nGRG is responsible for defining the O-RAN Alliance’s 6G research agenda and key priorities. That includes achieving O-RAN sustainability from 4G/5G to 6G and beyond, as well as unifying the 6G technology path to avoid incompatibility with other SDOs.

Connecting Disruptive Start-ups with Willing Investors and Established Enterprises

If the promise of 5G is to become a reality, disruptive start-ups and visionary thinkers need the freedom to explore, experiment, develop and test new solutions. They need access to investment, as well as the latest telecom equipment.

Dell Technologies is a founding member of the 5G Open Innovation Lab, which has already assembled a global community of 87 start-ups, more than 17 leading enterprises and more than 100 venture capital investors — all in just two years. The lab has generated $1.34 billion of investment so far and helped transform start-up ideas into pressure-tested, enterprise-class, market-ready solutions. In doing so, we have enabled enterprises to innovate with confidence by identifying and deploying solutions that advance digital transformation with reduced risk.

Some recent success stories include collaborating with Expeto, a leading enterprise mobile Networks-as-a-Service (NaaS) provider on several customer opportunities. We’ve helped Sunlight.io, an established hyperconverged platform provider, develop reference architectures in collaboration with another leading cloud-based orchestration solution provider.

Setting the Standard for Innovative New Solutions

Founded in 2016, the Telecom Infra project (TIP) is a community of diverse members that includes hundreds of companies—from service providers and technology partners, to systems integrators and other connectivity stakeholders. TIP helps to develop, test and deploy open, disaggregated, and standards-based solutions that deliver high quality connectivity on a global scale

Dell Technologies holds a seat of the TIP board of directors and Policy Committee, where we collaborate with global policymakers, government organizations and public-private partnerships to enable an accelerated industry-wide shift towards open, disaggregated and standards-based connectivity solutions.

We work closely with TIP project groups on testing and integration of TIP-incubated technologies to evaluate a product’s maturity toward commercial readiness. TIP badges are then awarded to products and solutions that demonstrate adequate levels of maturity against the technical requirements they seek to address. Dell Technologies PowerEdge R750, XR11 and XR12 models have all been awarded the TIP Supplier Validated Product (Bronze) Badge and are now available on the TIP Exchange as a result.

We’re also actively involved in multiple project groups working to define and build 5G RAN solutions based on general-purpose vendor-neutral hardware, interfaces and software. We’re helping to accelerate innovation in optical and IP networks, make 5G private networks accessible to a broad range of use cases and customers, as well as jointly developing a connectivity solution for Wi-Fi, SmallCells and Power over Ethernet (PoE) Switching.

Open Collaboration is More than Valuable, It’s Essential

This is just a taste of how Dell Technologies is contributing to important industry-wide initiatives across the telecom space. It is our capacity to influence and be influenced by these key programs that helps us continually drive innovation, cultivate diverse talent and ultimately deliver on the promise of 5G.

About the Author: Sandro Tavares

Sandro joined Dell Technologies in January 2021, leading the team responsible for the marketing activities for the telecommunications market. He brings more than 20 years of international experience in the telecom industry, with most of these years spent at Nokia, where he has served in sales and marketing positions, working in Brazil, Argentina, Finland, and the U.S. His last role at Nokia was Head of Mobile Networks Marketing, a position in which he led a global team focused on developing the 5G market and promoting Nokia's solutions in this domain. Sandro is a sought-after industry speaker presenting such industry developments as NFV, Cloud, 5G, and Open RAN. He has also published opinion articles in several specialized media outlets. His technical interest topics include 5G, Open RAN, Cloud RAN, NFV, Data Center Infrastructure, and VoLTE/VoWiFi. In October 2020, Sandro was nominated a "Rising Star" by Fierce Wireless, a recognition for executives making a strong contribution to the wireless industry's development. Sandro holds a BSc degree in Electrical Engineering from Universidade de Brasilia and an Executive MBA from Fundacao Dom Cabral in Brazil.