IBM, Airspan plan Open RAN testbed across France and Germany

The two companies will give vendors an opportunity to test and optimize performance as they develop Open RAN solutions

IBM Global Business Services and Airspan Networks have announced plans to launch a 5G-enabled Open RAN testbed spanning the IBM Watson IoT center in Munich, Germany and IBM’s Global Industry Solutions Center (GISC) in Nice, France. The goal is to provide European telcos with a test platform to trial edge applications and network slicing and give vendors an opportunity to test and optimize performance as they develop solutions using open standards.

“The Open RAN testbed is intended to advance the development of Open RAN software and hardware solutions, and end-to-end interoperability testing with private 5G stand-alone core networks. The two companies plan to provide partners and customers with the opportunity to collaborate, integrate and test features for next generation campus networks,” said IBM in a press release.

Airspan is providing its AirVelocity 2700 indoor radio unit and OpenRange software for virtualized Centralized Unit (CU) and Distributed Unit (DU) management, while IBM will provide its Global Business Services technology integration services, as well as IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation and IBM Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps.

It’s been an eventful 2021 for Airspan, which began trading on the NYSE earlier this year. It scored a win to anchor Gogo’s burgeoning in-flight 5G network. Airspan also collaborated with Rakuten Communications Platform on an Open RAN ‘blueprint’ to be sold globally.

IBM built an Open RAN test network in Puerto Madryn, Argentina with local telco Telefónica. IBM also opened its Open RAN Center of Excellence in Spain in 2021, a facility to help European operators successfully test and bring to market applications that meet open architecture standards.

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