Arm unveils 5G Solutions Lab for network infrastructure innovation

DISH, Google Cloud, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Vodafone and others will be involved in the effort.

Arm announced on Monday that it is opening a new 5G Solutions Lab to help companies test out hardware and software solutions built around 5G. 

Chris Bergey, a senior vice president at Arm, told ZDNet that the project was being created with the help of Tech Mahindra and dozens of companies interested in how 5G can spur innovation and lead to the creation of a slate of new products. 

"The Arm 5G Solutions Lab will focus on accelerating innovation for network infrastructure by providing a place for Arm's hardware and software ecosystem partners to come together and demonstrate end-to-end solutions in a live test environment. Given the incredible momentum that's been building within the OpenRAN community, we see a need to enable operators and enterprises looking to deploy private networks to gain easy access to multi-vendor platforms," Bergey said. 

"The Lab will provide secure access to partners and operators to validate solutions and gain confidence in new technologies across a range of critical use-cases such as small cells, macrocells, private 5G networks, cloud RAN, RAN Intelligence Controller (RIC), and core network."

DISH, Google Cloud, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Vodafone, GSMA, and others will be involved in the effort.

Bergey explained that the goal of the lab is to work as a meeting point for software and hardware developers, operators, and cloud service providers in order to "define KPIs, blueprints and deployment guides to help bring innovations in 5G alive and ultimately, generate revenue faster."

The company sees the lab as a "catalyst for the Arm ecosystem to develop and deploy a 5G network infrastructure," Bergey added. 

Ankur Jain, head of engineering for Google Cloud for Telecom & Google Distributed Cloud, said that 5G had the ability to bring value to enterprises and customers but noted that innovation in the space will require new partnerships across a broad ecosystem of hardware suppliers, software providers, and telecom operators.

DISH vice president of technology development Sidd Chenumolu added that the Arm 5G Solutions Lab will be "a place where we can collaborate and leverage the great work being done by the entire Arm partner ecosystem."

"Together, we'll drive innovation that will help fuel DISH's future solutions for customers across a range of industries, delivering on the promise of true 5G," Chenumolu said.

By the end of 2021, 5G networks will cover a fifth of the global population, according to GSMA CTO Alex Sinclair. Tech Mahindra senior vice president Sandeep Phadke explained that in addition to their partnership with Arm in this initiative, the company has focused investments to provide engineering R&D enablement to 5G/Open RAN providers such as Original Equipment Manufacturers, Independent Software Vendors, Test and Verification Vendors, and Communication Silicon Solution providers. 

"In this partnership with Arm on the Arm 5G Solutions Lab, Tech Mahindra is committed to providing the best-in-class 5G/Open RAN engineering experience and scalable 5G lab infrastructure so that developers can build and test new ideas, and do so in a secure and collaborative space alongside key players in the industry," Phadke said.