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Google Cloud and Nokia accelerate Cloud RAN vision with first end-to-end L3 data call

On the eve of Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona, we announced that we can now run radio access network (RAN) functions as software on Google Distributed Cloud Edge (GDC Edge), providing cloud service providers (CSPs) with a common and agile operating model that extends from the core of the network to the edge, for a high degree of programmability and flexibility, as well as low operating expenses. Following that announcement, we outlined our Cloud RAN solution that comprises four key pillars, including partnerships.

We embarked on our strategic partnership with Nokia for 5G Cloud RAN a while ago. Since then, our teams have been collaborating to develop, integrate and validate our products to produce an end-to-end solution to help address our customer’s RAN evolution needs. During this year’s MWC, we showcased 5G Cloud RAN solutions with Nokia DU and CU containerized software running on GDC Edge. 

In February, our teams reached a remarkable milestone that was showcased at MWC: the Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN containerized DU and CU running on GDC Edge, powered with a Nokia Cloud RAN SmartNIC L1 inline accelerator. The teams were able to successfully execute the first end-to-end L3 data call on this testbed. The testbed setup used a single and a real UE (User Equipment), with a 100MHz 5G cell sector deployed in TDD (Time Division Duplex) mid-band in a Standalone (SA) configuration, along with a 5G SA core. We achieved robust end-to-end data speed with consistent low latency and jitter, a testament to the solid foundation of our joint solution.

Achieving the performance and power utilization on 5G Cloud RAN deployments that’s on par with traditional RAN equipment is a priority for CSPs. The performance of Nokia’s AirScale Cloud RAN solution running on GDC Edge with Nokia Cloud RAN SmartNIC will help customers reach those goals, while also delivering feature parity between traditional and Cloud RAN deployments.

Figure 1: L3 Data Call with Nokia AirScale 5G Cloud RAN on GDC Edge integrated with Nokia Cloud RAN Smart NIC

“A collaborative approach to Cloud RAN means that we can drive efficiency, innovation, openness, and scale by jointly delivering competitive advantage to organizations that are embracing Cloud RAN. Together with Google Cloud we have made a successful L3 data call, which is a great achievement and huge progress towards driving consistent performance across cloud infrastructure. We look forward to continuing to work together in this journey,” said Pasi Toivanen, Head of Cloud Partnerships, Nokia.

“This is an exciting milestone in Nokia and Google Cloud’s collaboration and takes us a big step forward in offering CSPs the performance, energy savings and value they need of a cloud-native Cloud RAN solution,” said Don Tirsell, Head of Global Telecommunications Partnerships, Google Cloud. “We look forward, together with Nokia, to engaging CSPs in helping them prove out and accelerate their RAN modernization journey.”

We are on an exciting journey together, and over the coming months we will share more updates with you. To learn more about everything Google Cloud is doing to help CSPs please visit our Telecommunications industry page or reach out to your Google representatives.

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