Samsung, Microsoft Team Up On Fully-Virtualized 5G For Enterprise

Samsung Logo A71 5G DG AH 03 2020
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Samsung has revealed that it will launch its own 5G fully-virtualized radio access network (5G vRAN) with Microsoft, reports indicate. The South Korean tech giant will build out the solution on another, relatively new technology. Namely, that's Microsoft's new 5G Azure platform.

The Samsung 5G vRAN will be moved to the Microsoft platform alongside its multi-access edge computing technologies and virtualized core. And the network itself will roll out first at select locations. Samsung explicitly points to locations such as retail stores, smart factories, stadiums, and other enterprise locations.

How will Samsung capitalize on the new 5G Microsoft platform?

Now, the partnership does offer quite a bit of insight into Microsoft's new platform, announced earlier this week. But at least for now, these will be private, end-to-end cloud-based 5G networks.

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Samsung indicates that the Microsoft platform allows for a more secure 5G experience that's often in high demand in that sector. And it does so by, as might be implied in the branding, replacing dedicated hardware with a software solution. The solution is placed with "general-purpose, off-the-shelf servers."

In effect, the Microsoft solution allows Samsung to offer 5G networking managed by mainstream server technology. As opposed to dealing directly with dedicated 5G servers. Another benefit to that, aside from flexibility and easy scalability, is cost. Samsung says that, as with the earlier announcement from Microsoft, the cost-effectiveness is greatly improved with the new solution.

When will you see this solution in the real-world?

Now, as noted above, the new solution is intended, at least for now, for private enterprise and enterprise-related networks. This isn't going to result in widespread 5G availability for the greater mobile userbase. In fact, there's no guarantee any end-user on mobile or other devices will ever see the networks. That's going to depend on a variety of factors.

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As per Samsung's announcement, the company has continually made inroads on 5G. Its end-to-end offerings extend from chipsets and radios to core network technology. In addition to working on enterprise environments in the US and South Korea, it has started to help expand 5G in Japan. And work is underway to get the company started in Canada and New Zealand.

The new solution, according to Corporate Vice President, Azure for Operators, Yousef Khalidi, will help the company expand further. Mostly by lowering the bar for 5G entry. Specifically for "mutual customers" in retail, manufacturing, and entertainment sectors, as well as others.