Exploring hardware's role in network automation

Shinjini Sengupta
Product Launch Manager
Rakuten Symphony
November 30, 2023
minute read

The benefits of Open RAN and the role of hardware in network automation were the topics of a recent webinar from Rakuten Symphony in collaboration with Intel and Supermicro. Hosted by TelecomTV, “Get ahead with automation: A practical guide for telecom operators” details how Rakuten Symphony, in working with its partners, leverages general-purpose hardware that is designed to perform a broad range of tasks and applications tailored to meet the precise requirements of a telecom provider. Let’s explore the key areas explored during the session.

Modular Hardware

Modular hardware refers to a design approach where a system is composed of individual, interchangeable modules that can be combined or replaced easily. It plays a crucial role in the telecommunications industry due to the unique challenges and requirements of this dynamic and rapidly evolving field.

Modular hardware enables providers to customize their infrastructure based on specific services and technologies, allowing for a more efficient and tailored approach to network design. Mory Lin, VP of loT/Embedded and Edge Computing at Supermicro, emphasized this point in the webinar when he talked about the importance of a reliable and flexible hardware system to enable easy scalability.


Security is of paramount concern in the telecommunications industry and this holds true for Open RAN deployments as well. Security is crucial in Open RAN for several reasons such as cybersecurity concerns, data privacy, reliability and network performance, network resilience, compliance with industry standards and threat mitigation.

Caroline Chan, VP of Network and Edge Group at Intel shared how Intel supports Rakuten Symphony's secure and reliable platform from a software perspective.

Network Programmability

Another key aspect of the role of hardware in network operation is network programmability. Hardware needs to support programmable interfaces and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that enable communication between automation tools and network devices. Programmable network devices can be controlled and configured through automation scripts. This is echoed by Rakuten Symphony CMO Geoff Hollingworth when he mentions “Initiatives like Open RAN are actually so that all of the network elements, in that case the radio, are all programmable the same way, independent of vendors.”

Simplifying through Automation

In collaborating with Intel and Supermicro, Rakuten Symphony is bringing to market open and modular hardware blueprints to simplify operations through automation. This allows for a scalable platform for operators that enables them to move away from a reactive approach to a proactive one, increasing efficiency and saving time.

To watch the full version of the webinar, click here.

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