World-Class 5G Lab Opens in Tokyo
Japan’s Rakuten Mobile Network, Inc., the mobile network branch of Rakuten Group, and IT services major Tech Mahindra have launched a world-class next generation (4G and 5G) software-defined network lab located in Tokyo.
Established in line with a joint MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed by Rakuten and Tech Mahindra in October last year, the Rakuten Cloud Innovation Laboratory is a unique, fully automated testing facility that aims to foster innovation across mobile network, IT digital architecture, cloud and enterprise applications. One more is in the pipeline, in Bengaluru.
The collaboration, which is aimed at driving innovation to bring about the transformation of mobile network technology and enhance customer experience for users in Japan, came on the sidelines of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last year visit to Japan and meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to further strengthen Indo-Japan business ties.
“Rakuten is working towards the launch of the world’s first fully virtualized, end-to-end cloud-native mobile network,” said Mickey Mikitani, chair, president and chief executive officer of Rakuten, Inc., during the launch.
“Our collaboration with Tech Mahindra on this world-class lab will allow us to drive innovation and disruption in the mobile industry, and takes us one step closer to providing consumers with a broad variety of cost-effective services,” he added, in a release.
Images of the facility interior.
The lab infrastructure replicates end-to-end network domains, including the virtualized RAN (radio access network), mobile edge, virtualized EPC (evolved packet core), virtualized IMS (IP multimedia subsystem) core, OSS (operations support systems) and BSS (business support systems), along with scalable network traffic simulation capabilities, enabling comprehensive end-to-end testing across the entire network. These robust testing capabilities reduce anomalies in the software, lowering the instance of failures in commercial networks, the company says.
What’s more, the lab implements and automates the entire continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline, which, coupled with DevOps principles, enables Rakuten to quickly test, integrate and continuously deploy new features and technologies, eliminating the need for late night maintenance, reducing operating costs, and contributing to improving the network experience for customers.
C.P. Gurnani, the managing director and chief executive officer of Tech Mahindra, believes 5G will give a boost to industry verticals and domains. “5G is the universal growth code that will fuel growth across industry verticals and domains. The Tokyo 5G lab is just the beginning of what Rakuten and Tech Mahindra can achieve to define the 5G Economics of future. Our collaboration with Rakuten will help us further drive innovation in the 5G space and lead the 5G revolution,” says Gurnani.
Manish Vyas, the chief executive of Network Services, Tech Mahindra, adds that the lab showcases "modern workspace for new innovators and integrators on one hand and world’s first true software defined network blueprint with disaggregated hardware and software on the other."