Ericsson continued to push network virtualisation with the launch of a new Open Lab, a space designed to boost collaboration between customers and ecosystem partners on alternative RAN technologies.

The vendor stated the Open Lab is accessible virtually to customers globally, focussing on its recent Cloud RAN launch and a drive towards “innovation to complement existing RAN solutions”.

Ericsson explained the lab will be co-located with the company’s cloud RAN expertise at an R&D site in Canada and cover activities from its locations around the world.

The vendor said the lab will enable fast and interactive collaboration, aiding service providers to pursue and realise new deployment and 5G use case scenarios, “as well as create opportunities to increase automation and reduce manual intervention”.

It also offers space to explore open RAN technologies including virtualisation, management and orchestration. And there is also a focus on fostering cooperation in machine learning, and network automation and optimisation with CSPs and industry partners.

Those partners include operators KDDI, Ooredoo, Orange, SoftBank Group and Turkcell, along with Intel, Nvidia, Red Hat and Wind River.

Fredrik Jejdling, EVP and head of Business Area Networks said it had created the space to “develop architectures and common operating standards that complement existing 5G ready technology”.

In addition to cloud RAN, Ericsson has been a vocal backer of an open network approach, insisting virtualised networks can complement its traditional business model.