February 25, 2024

Red Hat and Arm collaborate to deliver more energy efficient 5G and vRAN solutions


With the continued evolution of 5G, RAN and now virtualised RAN (vRAN), modern networks are increasingly relying on software-defined architecture and cloud-native technologies. This requires streamlining the deployment and management of applications across different environments. The transition to 5G often results in higher electricity consumption from increased site density and sub-optimal use of the underlying resources. As a result, service providers are beginning to explore new ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce their environmental impact, such as optimising network design and operations with energy-efficient hardware, and implementing power and thermal management techniques.

Sustainable computing is a multidimensional challenge across all industries, with service providers keen to reduce power consumption and support sustainability goals, particularly in regard to the RAN. According to a Red Hat-sponsored sustainability study, RAN is responsible for 75% of a service provider’s total power consumption. Adopting more energy efficient compute technologies will reduce power consumption and help service providers meet environmental impact standards set by governing bodies without losing key network functionalities.

Red Hat and Arm are collaborating to deliver more energy efficient 5G and vRAN solutions fueled by Red Hat open source technologies and Arm compute platforms.

Reducing power consumption with open source innovation

As networks continue to virtualise, having a carrier-grade container management solution is crucial. At Red Hat, we are committed to open source innovation and are excited to collaborate with Arm to develop highly efficient 5G solutions. With our combined expertise, we are better positioned to deliver more sustainable network operations and reduced power consumption for our customers.

The central processing unit (CPU) is fundamental to any strategy in building efficient 5G networks. Reduced Instruction Set Compute architecture is broadly adopted in the infrastructure space spanning edge, networking and cloud because of ground up designs focused on compute efficiency. This offers service providers and organisations with private 5G networks the ability to integrate 5G more seamlessly into their operations.

Red Hat and Arm are testing and developing proofs-of-concept for energy efficiency using Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Arm Neoverse CPUs. Arm Neoverse provides high-performing and energy efficient CPU architecture to run cloud-native applications faster for low-latency 5G networks. Red Hat OpenShift, built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, propels cloud-native applications across any cloud environment to support 5G and RAN deployment scenarios. Red Hat and Arm are focused on the following use cases related to energy efficiency:

. Virtualised implementation for RAN workloads using Red Hat OpenShift for cloud-native, containerisation capabilities.
. Utilizing Centralised Unit (CU) and Distributed Unit (DU) building blocks to support 5G and RAN deployments.
. Edge applications, such as network-in-a-box with connectivity components, and application processing.

Extending capabilities through the partner ecosystem

As part of Red Hat and Arm’s collaboration, we bring together a combined ecosystem of systems integrators, service providers and software vendors. For example, NEC, a long-time partner of both Red Hat and Arm, is optimising its RAN and 5G Core network solutions for greater energy efficiency.

Red Hat and Arm have a diverse and knowledgeable ecosystem of partners who bring their specialised expertise to extend the scope of network capabilities. This includes AI/ML-based orchestration, hardware optimization, and workload management – all with the shared goal of enabling more sustainable network operations and reduced power consumption.

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