Xilinx, Fujitsu enter O-RAN partnership to support 5G deployment in the US
Xilinx and Fujitsu are coming together to support a more rapid rollout of 5G in the United States. The partnership, which will involve Xilinx incorporating its UltraScale+ technology into Fujitsu’s O-RAN 5G radio units (O-RUs), will allow for the interoperability between baseband and radio unit components from multiple vendors.
This interoperability, a highly touted feature of the O-RAN concept, will enable more network flexibility and customization for mobile operators as they move to 5G.
According to Masaki Taniguchi, senior vice president and head of the mobile system business unit at Fujitsu, the combination of Xilinx’s UltraScale+ solutions and Fujitsu’s radio platforms will “deliver a solid foundation for enabling the great benefits of O-RAN that are central to 5G deployments.”
“Our Fujitsu design team worked closely with Xilinx on our O-RAN radio units to enable greater flexibility and cost savings while also delivering greater innovation as well as new capabilities for 5G networks,” Taniguchi said.
Part of the cost savings is due to the fact that Xilinx UltraScale+ devices require only half the power and surface area to regulate waveform-processing applications. When used on Fujitsu’s O-RAN-compatible 5G radio units, which support a broad range of spectrum and multi-band applications, operators achieve a number of operating benefits while saving capital.
Further, Fujitsu is evaluating Xilinx’s programmable radio-frequency system-on-a-chip (RFSoC), which can reportedly reduce the power consumption and cost of 5G massive-MIMO and millimeter-wave wireless backhaul applications by 50-75%.
While official statements made by Xilinx EVP and GM Liam Madden, mention only that the combined solution will ed up in “a major greenfield 5G network”, there is reason to believe that this network will end up belonging to Dish Network, who has made previous promises of a U.S. greenfield 5G deployment.
Evidence for this suspicion lies somewhat in a June 2020 purchase deal consistently described as “large,” in which DISH bought Fujitsu’s low- and mid-band O-RAN Alliance compliant radios for its 5G network.