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The chipmaker says the Arm 5G Solutions Lab will focus on innovation in network infrastructure, particularly demonstrating the combination of their hardware and software

This week, chip specialist Arm has announced that it will open a new 5G Solutions Lab, seeking to provide their ecosystem partners with an ideal location to demonstrate end-to-end solutions for 5G in a live environment.
 
The lab is being opened in partnership with Indian tech firm Tech Mahindra and will be built in New Jersey, USA.
 
Arm expects the site to open to developers in early 2022.
 
This announcement represents a boost for Open RAN, potentially giving operators and enterprises a suitable testing site for multi-vendor RAN systems and applications. Arm expects the site to be used to validate key use cases, including small cells, macro cells, private networks, cloud RAN, RAN intelligence controller (RIC) technology, and core innovations.
 
Naturally, this lab will be closely tied to Arm’s wider partner ecosystem, which includes operators, cloud providers, silicon and hardware providers, and software specialists. In their press release, Arm listed Google Cloud, EdgeQ, GIGABYTE, Marvell, NVIDIA, NXP, Qualcomm, DISH, Vodafone, Accelleran, Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, Radisys, Saankhya Labs, Tech Mahindra, and the GSMA as just a small selection of the possible beneficiaries from the Lab’s activities. 
 
“We envision the Lab as a catalyst for the Arm ecosystem to develop and deploy a 5G network infrastructure that leverages the inherent benefits of performance, power, and cost of the Arm architecture,” said Chris Bergey, SVP and GM, Infrastructure Line of Business at Arm.
 
Currently, the Open RAN equipment market is somewhat dominated by Arm’s rival Intel, whose FlexRAN reference platform has played a major role in the development and testing of both open and traditional 5G systems. 
 
However, Arm has indicated that it may attempt to challenge Intel’s hegemony in this sector, joining the O-RAN Alliance back in April 2020 and since then making a major push towards securing more of the burgeoning Open RAN market. This effort has been helped in no small part by operators shift towards virtualised network infrastructure, allowing more of the network processing to take place on standard servers where Arm can be more broadly competitive. 
 
Meanwhile, Arm itself is currently embroiled in the complex process of being taken over by Nvidia, with the deal worth roughly $40 billion.
 
 
Will Open RAN change the dynamic for 5G deployment in the coming years? Find out what the key players think at this year’s Total Telecom Congress 
 
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