Verizon, the leader in Virtualized Radio Access Network (VRAN) innovation, has now deployed over 8,000 virtualized cell sites with a goal of deploying over 20,000 by the end of 2025. This technology milestone allows Verizon to rapidly respond to customers’ varied latency and computing needs, and provides greater flexibility and agility in the introduction of new products and services. The move to a cloud-based, virtualized architecture with standardized interfaces in every part of the network leads to greater flexibility, faster delivery of services, greater scalability, and improved cost efficiency in networks.
“We are building the network with the most advanced technology available, because we know people rely on our network and we are committed to delivering the variety and quality of services our customers need,” said Adam Koeppe, Senior Vice President of Planning and Technology at Verizon. “Even while driving the most aggressive network deployment in our company’s history, we know giving people access to 5G is only part of the winning equation.”
Key 5G use cases focused on providing the best, most efficient network for customers, will heavily rely on the programmability of virtualized networks. Networks must serve IoT devices that do very little networking and stay in place, smartphones with infinite opportunities to use data in a highly mobile environment, and complex solutions like Augmented Reality that require massive computing capabilities on the edge of the network. These various network solutions rely on a correlated variety of resources from the network, which until recently have been defined rigidly and manually. Using orchestration and automation capabilities at scale on virtual infrastructure, Verizon automates network configuration changes and resource scaling dynamically based on demand. This is one of the greatest benefits of virtualizing a network – essentially building programmability into the network.
It takes more than just virtualization
While the advancement of virtualization technology is a critical step towards advanced 5G solutions, Verizon is working on many other technological advancements in parallel to deliver to customers the most robust, advanced, and reliable network in the world.
- Verizon recently announced a massive advancement in its packet core network, quadrupling the capacity on its fiber network.
- It also recently announced it is beginning to deploy 100 MHz of C-band spectrum in many markets across the US– a significant increase from the 60 MHz of spectrum it has deployed in 5G markets to date. Almost doubling the spectrum available for 5G Ultra Wideband turbo charges the service, offering significantly higher speeds, much greater capacity to accommodate more customers and more robust services, and allows Verizon to offer 5G Home broadband and Business Internet services to more customers.
- ORAN – Disaggregating the hardware and software functions on the network through widespread virtualization creates the foundation for ORAN. ORAN is an evolution of the virtual network architecture with the potential to bring many benefits in terms of deployment flexibility, faster innovation in an open environment, and greater service options by increasing the opportunity for new entrants to provide competitive and advanced solutions. More competition, more innovation, and increased supplier diversity will all be a net benefit to operators and consumers.
- Advanced antenna configurations – Verizon continues to drive antenna efficiency, including widespread use of Massive MIMO, which leads to greater speeds and less signal interference resulting in greater capacity and speed for customers.
- MEC – Mobile EdgeComputing (MEC) moves the data processing done by the applications and services closer to the customer at the edge of the network. This shortens the roundtrip distance data travels from the device to servers that can process data. This helps critical, performance-impacting applications respond more quickly and efficiently. Verizon’s MEC is deployed in a rack next to our Core network gear which enables the lowest possible latency. We are partnering with the top cloud partners, driving tighter network integration/differentiation through API’s. Verizon recently expanded its MEC ecosystem by bringing AWS Wavelength zones to Nashville and Tampa and now reaches 19 metro areas. This means that 75% of the U.S. population is now within 150 miles of VZ 5G Edge.
- Webscale platform – Using a Verizon-owned and operated webscale platform, Verizon engineers have created a cloud-native architecture. Verizon’s telco cloud has been optimized for telco workloads, unique telco regulatory and performance requirements, and tighter integration with other operations systems. This unique cloud architecture drives efficiency and allows functionality to be distributed throughout the network. Verizon’s native telco workloads (Core, RAN, signaling, and user plane) run more efficiently and with better performance and resiliency when deployed on this optimized cloud platform.
- Verizon remains very active in global standards bodies and continue to work with experts globally to set standards and expectations for future technology.