Dish to Trial VMware RAN Intelligent Controller on Its 5G Network

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BARCELONA—Dish and VMware have announced that Dish will trial VMware’s RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) as the platform on top of which Dish’s complex radio access network (RAN) workloads will run. 

The companies made the announcement at the Mobile World Congress 2022.

“Dish is building a first-of-its-kind network that will move the entire industry forward,” Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s Service Provider and Edge business unit, said. “We’re excited to be a part of the journey as we continue to work with Dish and its ecosystem partners to launch the first Open RAN-based 5G network in the United States.”

“Dish’s Network of Networks will leverage network slicing, Open RAN (O-RAN), and other 5G innovations to provide customized network services,” explained Marc Rouanne, executive vice president and chief network officer at Dish Wireless. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all experience. It can be customizable, by speed, latency, data requirements – all defined by the customer. We are redefining the relationship between service provider and enterprise, and VMware has been a strategic partner in helping us achieve this vision.”

Mware RIC is a multi-RAN, multi-cloud platform that abstracts the underlying RAN infrastructure and can host both near-real-time applications (xApps) and non-real-time applications (rApps). These apps enable new capabilities – automation, optimization and service customization – that fuel innovation across a telco network.

During the trial, Dish will evaluate VMware RIC on its ability to:

  • Create custom solutions from a vibrant ecosystem of RIC innovators: In the coming years, Dish expects a rich ecosystem of xApps and rApps to take shape—almost like an App Store for the RAN. With a RIC platform, Dish will be able to mix and match RAN software from multiple vendors and assemble powerful new solutions for their networks and customers.
  • Use RAN programmability and intelligence to automate its Network of Networks: With the ability to access RAN data and program RAN components, RIC applications will help Dish enable progressively smarter automation. For example, an rApp could run machine learning analysis on RAN traffic and performance over time, and then feed those insights back to upstream controllers—or even an xApp in the same node—to execute optimizations.
  • Enhance security: Dish will be able to enforce the same consistent security policies across the end-to-end network, including in the RAN. But the RIC adds still more options. RIC makes RAN components function more like endpoints—and could even run endpoint-like security software to monitor and protect RAN traffic at the point it enters the network.
George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.