Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) wants to help service providers and enterprises accelerate 5G development and roll out new use cases.
To that end, the tech giant on Thursday unveiled the HPE 5G Lab, a test and development environment where telecoms and enterprises can test out their 5G network solutions before putting the applications into production, Jeff Edlund, CTO of HPE‘s Communications and Media Solutions division, told CRN.
HPE‘s new 5G lab will give communication service providers and enterprise customers hands-on experience with the latest 5G technology from multiple vendors and network functions from HPE in a live test environment. The users can validate their solutions on a neutral ground, Edlund said.
“We want to use this as a centre that our partners and customers can come and demonstrate use cases and do proof of concepts ahead of making any decisions on any particular use case they might want to commercialise,” he said.
HPE believes that starting fresh was necessary for 5G -- it‘s a different technology that requires more than porting over 3G or 4G software, Edlund said. “It needs to be built to cloud-native principles because 5G is built on the cloud, and you need to leverage containers and microservices as much as possible,” he said.
Above all, HPE has pushed for an open, best-of-breed approach to 5G, Edlund said. Users of the lab can take advantage of HPE‘s 5g Core Stack, which includes containers as a service and platform as a service that run on HPE’s telecom-grade infrastructure, as well as solutions from third-party service providers.
Via the lab, providers and customers will get feedback around whether their solutions are interoperating correctly, as well as performance tests around throughput, Edlund said.
The HPE 5G lab, located in one of the firm‘s most modern data centres in Fort Collins, Colorado, can also be accessed virtually by partners and customers around the globe, the company said.
Aruba Networks, an HPE company, will soon be present in the data centre with its wireless technology to bridge Wi-Fi 6 and 5G technology, Edlund said.
After certifying their multi-vendor 5G solutions, partners and customers can tap HPE‘s salesforce and resources for co-selling and co-marketing, he added.
HPE‘s 5G Lab has gained support from technology partners including Affirmed Networks, Casa Systems, Intel, Openet, Metaswitch and Red Hat, according to the company. The company is “actively” talking to more network functions vendors, telecoms, and customers, Edlund said.
Despite largely having a negative impact on many markets including IT, the COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the acceleration of 5G, Edlund said.
“Our customers are pushing us even harder to get this stuff out the door at production or commercial quality for the end of the year,” he said. But while businesses are looking to technology to help them rebuild, cost is still a factor, Edlund said.
“We‘re really stepping up with our [service provider partners] in a way that’s never been done before,” he said. ”We can deliver services via our GreenLake offering in a consumption-based model. With an as a service [model] for our telco-grade equipment, everyone is all ears.“