Qualcomm President: ‘5G requires infrastructure like we’ve never seen’
At Qualcomm’s annual 5G Summit, the company announced the expansion of its 5G RAN portfolio. The additions, which include the new Qualcomm Radio Unit, Distributed Unit and Distributed Radio Unit system-on-chip platforms, are all part of Qualcomm’s goal to support further virtualizing networks to enable a new, more open, modular and innovative cellular infrastructure — or Infrastructure 2.0.
At this week’s CTIA 5G Summit, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon brought up this concept of Infrastructure 2.0 again, saying the company is “committed to delivering the technologies for what’s next.”
“We’re ready to enable Infrastructure 2.0,” he added.
So, what exactly is Infrastructure 2.0 and what is its relationship with 5G?
Infrastructure 2.0 seeks to address the fact that existing core network infrastructure is limited in its ability to handle the highly virtualized network models that the industry is moving toward.
For instance, there has been some concern for awhile now around how data center virtualization will impact existing enterprise networking models.
At the CTIA event, Amon explained that 5G will be revolutionary, creating new industries, use cases, services and network models. However, a network capable of doing all that 5G promises requires “infrastructure like we’ve never seen.”
“It needs to be dense, high-performance, cost-effective and power-efficient for both indoors and outdoors, and support public and private networks with a scalable and flexible networking equipment for diverse deployments across multiple industries and use cases,” he continued. “This modern 5G network is driving a shift towards virtualized radio access solutions or vRAN.”
For further context, in a previous conversation with RCR Wireless News, Amon discussed how this push towards virtualization and openness is a potential vector of disruption to traditional network equipment providers, and this disruption is what will lead to Infrastructure 2.0.
“I believe that vRAN and Open RAN creates a huge opportunity for some of the network equipment providers that will lead the transition in what Infrastructure 2.0 is,” he said, adding that incumbents could “take a leading role in the software that will run in those networks and will provide feature parity between the existing systems and the new systems.”