Case Study

Telecommunications Company: 5G Network

5G and the power of collaboration

Laying the foundation for its emerging cloud-based 5G network, a telecommunications customer asked WWT to test, validate and deploy at scale more than 1,800 specially built servers. Collaborating with technology partners HPE and Intel, we answered the challenge, reducing time to value from three months to less than three weeks.

WWT, HPE and Intel accelerate 5G transformations from idea to outcome

Communication service providers worldwide are racing to claim early market leadership in the emerging age of 5G networks. To succeed, those service providers must first deploy a robust underlying hybrid IT infrastructure – one that can deliver flexibility and new services without customer disruption. But, an undertaking of such massive scope also requires capable partners.

When a major telecommunications giant architected a 25GbE networking solution for deploying a new 5G service on its own evolving cloud platform, it turned to WWT to test, validate and deploy at scale over 1,800 servers built to their specifications to reduce their time to value. WWT stepped up to bring this idea to outcome.

Collaborating closely with strategic partners HPE and Intel WWT leveraged the resources of its Advanced Technology Center (ATC) and Global Integration Centers to support this massive effort, beating an ambitious testing and validation window of less than three weeks – significantly faster than the two to three months it would have taken the client to perform the same task.

Servers built for a 5G network

The solution entailed the latest HPE ProLiant Gen10 servers which meet security, scalable performance and critical workload requirements. The foundation for server connectivity in this deployment was the 25GbE Intel Ethernet Network Adapter, providing the broad interoperability, intelligent performance and increased agility our customer required.

Each server was equipped with two 25 GbE Network Interface Cards (NICs) and one 10 GbE NIC with the flexibility for growth. And, the servers were powered by 24-core Intel Xeon Scalable processors, preferred for their increased performance and multiple acceleration features necessary for the compute-intensive workloads of a 5G environment.

ATC testing and validation crucial for success

To test and validate all systems, it fell to the networking specialists in the ATC, WWT’s collaborative ecosystem where we design, build, educate, demonstrate and deploy multi-vendor emerging technologies, integrating open architectural solutions. WWT already had most product components for testing readily on hand and worked with Intel to obtain a few 25 GbE NIC cards, which at the time were in scarce supply. These enabled the ATC to quickly spin up its test environments, expediting the entire process.

Our telecom customer, whose network was provisioned with 40 Gb switches, tasked WWT with determining whether the HPE servers could accommodate higher-speed 25 GbE NICs to deliver faster networking capabilities than could be achieved from standard 10 GbE connectivity. As part of the testing phase, we measured the speed from each server through the switch, and then on to the next server. We tested for single stream versus four streams, and direct versus bi-directional signals.

Our ATC validated that, yes, each highly scalable HPE ProLiant Gen10 server could be equipped with 25 GbE NICs to achieve the desired connectivity. In fact, the NIC was able to offload from the server CPU, increasing customer performance.

The final step: integration and deployment

After the ATC engineers completed the testing and validation phase, WWT assembled and deployed the full-scale solution in its North American Integration Center. WWT operates three integration centers facilities worldwide with more than 2 million square feet of integration space.

The scope of the project was daunting: more than 70 compute racks with 20+ servers and a half-dozen switches each, as well as nearly 20 storage racks. Altogether the servers for this deployment took four months to rack, cable, configure and burn-in.

WWT’s integration team delivered its finished solution for deployment in more than two dozen edge locations across the country.

WWT saved the client additional time by delivering the assembled server racks sufficiently configured that they could be plugged into the network upon arrival, ready to receive operating systems and application software downloads remotely.

An ongoing, evolving effort

WWT’s telecom customer has been pursuing its vision of a 5G future for years, and this 25GbE networking challenge was only the latest in its continuing drive to the next generation of wireless service. WWT has been a consistent partner in their back-end integration activities, collaborating with HPE, Intel and other IT partners as needed. And the partnership continues.

It all comes back to the power of a collaborative ecosystem, helping customers do amazing things in less time. When they have ambitious goals and urgent needs, WWT and its partners bring innovation to action with our in-house resources, leveraging the unique capabilities of the ATC to test and validate, and the Global Integration Centers to integrate and deploy at scale, delivering to the most complex challenges that create the greatest customer outcomes.

What’s your unique networking challenge? WWT invites you to learn more about how our ATC works with customers and technology partners to bring ideas to outcome.