Ericsson working with AWS to make carriers more agile

The cloud effort comes as Ericsson gears up to help operators handle more traffic and IoT devices

20160222 ericsson hans vestberg mwc

Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg spoke on Feb. 22, 2016, on the first day of Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona.

Credit: Stephen Lawson

Ericsson and Amazon Web Services are partnering to help service providers use the AWS cloud to quickly roll out and expand services in areas like the Internet of Things.

The partnership, announced Monday at Mobile World Congress, is part of Ericsson's efforts to help carriers evolve from traditional data-center infrastructure to Web-scale technologies. Like enterprises, fixed and mobile operators want to become more agile so they can meet growing and changing demands from users.

AWS and Ericsson are starting out by working with Australian carrier Telstra at the Gurrowa Innovation Lab in Melbourne.

At the same time, Ericsson announced a partnership with Quanta to build data-center systems for carriers based on Intel's Rack Scale Architecture. The architecture separates components like computing, storage and memory into horizontal layers of infrastructure that can be expanded more flexibly than dedicated servers. Ericsson introduced a Rack Scale system last year that has been adopted by mobile operators including South Korea's SK Telecom and Taiwan's Far EasTone. Ericsson has also joined the Open Compute Project, which defines open data-center hardware architectures.

Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg announced the deals at a press briefing to kick off the company's massive presence at MWC. Along with its cloud efforts, the huge mobile infrastructure vendor is focused on IoT and the emerging 5G standard.

5G networks will need to be able to connect to 100 times as many devices and handle 100 times as much data volume as current networks, Vestberg said. They will also have to operate with less than 5 milliseconds of delay, for uses like self-driving cars, and be efficient enough that IoT devices can communicate for years on a single battery.

Potential 5G technology Ericsson is demonstrating this year has exceeded 25Gbps (bits per second) of throughput, he said. That's a sexy number for video-hungry consumers, but unlike earlier generations of mobile gear, 5G will have to support industry and cities as much as it does the average user.

Like Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri, Vestberg expects to see 5G in commercial use, at least in pre-standard form, well before the official 3GPP specification is finished in 2020. With that head start, 5G will serve 150 million subscribers by 2021, he predicted.

Also on Monday, Vestberg and executives from Cisco Systems gave an update on the partnership they announced last November. They are already working on more than 200 customer engagements and have achieved multiple wins, they said.

The two companies are introducing their first joint products at MWC. They are working together in areas including mobile backhaul, IP (Internet Protocol) core, and managed services.

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