Planning to Play in 5G? You’ll Need a Bigger Sandbox

  • General

At an early age, we learn the importance of playing well together with everyone in the sandbox. Then as we grow older, the number of people we invite into our sandbox grows smaller even as our world grows larger. This new sandbox is familiar, comfortable and secure. But it doesn’t lead to great discoveries or new partnerships.

The future of global communications requires a bigger sandbox and a lot more people in it digging for solutions. The 5G services of tomorrow won’t be delivered by any single company. They will require new partnerships that bring together operators, equipment vendors, hardware and software companies and other businesses to build the next generation of mobile services, from autonomous vehicles to augmented reality.

In order to facilitate this world of 5G discoveries, Dell Technologies has created a world-class sandbox, the Open Telecom Ecosystem Lab (OTEL for short). Open for business since this Summer, OTEL has drawn interest from many of the world’s leading operators, partners and enterprises. Proofs of concepts, collaborative solutions, tests and certifications are happening in OTEL right now.

OTEL exemplifies collaboration, interoperability and trust

OTEL is much more than a meeting place for new ideas and partners. It’s a secure, collaborative environment that brings together some of the world’s smartest companies (and some of the world’s smartest people) to accelerate and energize the creation and adoption of 5G services. Dell is ideally suited to host this environment because we already partner with so many of the world’s leading technology companies in both the enterprise and telecommunications markets.

The cornerstone of OTEL’s environment is collaboration, interoperability and trust built on the modern development, security and operations (DevSecOps) paradigm. Collaboration refers to embracing and evolving open standards, from Kubernetes to Open RAN (O-RAN) and many others. OTEL brings together more than enterprises, operators and vendors; it also brings in the industry standards bodies that are defining the future. Interoperability represents product certifications and solution validations to de-risk the deployment of 5G services, not just on paper, but in real-world production networks. Trust is perhaps the most important ingredient because 5G is poised to become a competitive advantage for many companies. OTEL’s secure environment ensures that partners have the same level of privacy they could expect in their own testing labs. Each of these elements is then integrated together and continuously tested using the latest DevSecOps processes.

Bringing the right products and people together

A collaborative ecosystem is only as strong as its products and people. From the product side, OTEL is open to a vast partner network that includes traditional network equipment vendors, newer companies with software-based solutions, industry consortiums and leading enterprises. But people play an equally important role, which is why Dell has brought together a world-class team of experts that represent what we believe are the four critical skill sets for 5G solutions:

Automation skills that address scalability and accelerate solution development.
Telecommunications network expertise from industry veterans who have led POCs in large telco environments.
Integration and interoperability specialists who know how to build solutions featuring servers, storage, and software from different vendors.
Industry standards advocates who know the telco stack and can ensure that 5G solutions are aligned with the future.

OTEL is already helping 5G Open RAN solutions become a reality. We offer a variety of services today including product certification, solution validation, new service creation and other lab testing activities. From a solution’s testing perspective, OTEL can replicate a variety of scenarios including core, edge and RAN environments. Our goal at Dell is to deliver a best-in-class 5G lab environment without the bias. Even if you’re not using Dell hardware or software, you can still use OTEL to test your solutions in a trusted, secure environment.

Coopetition and the future of 5G

The reality is that no single industry owns 5G. It’s not a pure telecommunications play or a pure mobile play. Enterprises, device manufacturers, network equipment vendors, service providers and software companies will all have a role in shaping the future of 5G. At the same time, they’ll need to work together to create and deliver these solutions even as they compete against one another for revenue share. For this reason, trust is at the center of everything we do at OTEL. Without that trust, you can’t get everyone into the same sandbox to play together. So, bring your imagination and join us in the sandbox of tomorrow. You’ll be amazed what we can build together.

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