Ericsson and Google Cloud detailed a plan to jointly develop a hybrid cloud platform to help operators optimise RAN infrastructure while also improving their capabilities with automation and AI.

Google Cloud is partnering with Ericsson to develop the vendor’s cloud RAN platform on Google Distributed Cloud (GDC).

The companies stated their expanded partnership would enable opportunities for operators to tap into the benefits of cloud-native automation by using AI and ML to improve performance and flexibility.

Operators are moving to a cloud-native architecture to build and run scalable applications in environments spanning public, private and hybrid clouds.

GDC is a portfolio of managed hardware and software products and services that extend Google Cloud’s infrastructure and services closer to a network edge or into data centres.

Ericsson and Google have demonstrated the full implementation of the Ericsson vDU and vCU on GDC Edge. The Ericsson Cloud RAN offering is currently running live in the Ericsson Open Lab in Ottawa, Canada before it goes to market development.

The combined platform enables the delivery of a fully automated and large-scale distributed cloud, which the companies stated resulted in a highly performant and secured software centric RAN infrastructure.

The on-premises GDC Edge is managed using functions, such as fleet management from the public cloud, through a dedicated secure connection between on-prem hardware and the cloud. It also addresses sovereignty and privacy concerns for operators’ customers.

To further spur the cloud-native approach for network workloads, they are working with the Linux Foundation’s open source Nephio project. Nephio is a Kubernetes-based automation platform that deploys and manages distributed and interconnected workloads such as 5G network functions.