Vapor IO and Packet Launch 5G-as-a-Service for Wireless Operators


Vapor IO, an edge data center company, and Packet, a bare metal cloud provider for developers, are launching a 5G-as-a-Service (5GaaS) deployed to Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge micro data centers. The offering comprises of 5G capable infrastructure and connectivity, which will be deployed to edge locations and sold as a “pay as you go” service. Operators will need to deploy the rest of the infrastructure required for the emerging technology.

The 5GaaS will initially launch in Chicago later this year as part of Project Volutus. Chicago has been a market focus for Vapor IO, and the company’s first site there is already operational.

Project Volutus combines an edge-colocation with a data center as a platform service, offering a network of fully-managed micro data centers embedded in urban centers, typically at the base of cell towers. Volutus promises to usher forth a “new class of low-latency edge applications”, including VR, AR, IoT, smart cities and connected cars, and play a critical function in locating cloud services more closely to the device or location to optimize performance and provide low latency. The thousands of small, regional and micro-regional data centers that Volutus will partner with will be directly cross-connected to wireless networks, and provide direct fiber routes back to already existing data centers. In Volutus’ words, “We deploy your hardware to our locations, then give you the software tools to remotely operate and manage them”.

Project Volutus deploys Vapor IO’s software, which is based on OpenDCRE, an open source telemetry system for remote monitoring.

In the launch of 5GaaS, Vapor IO will oversee the physical facilities, operating the lit fiber networking and providing real-time management of infrastructure while Packet will operate the compute service through an “on-demand model” that can be deployed via its portal, API, or via other integrated platforms, such as Ansible and Terraform. Customers will pay for access to the network either hourly or accrue discounts based on longer-term demand.

“As wireless technology moves to commoditized x86 and ARM servers, cloud-like operating models will become the de facto standard,” Cole Crawford, founder and CEO of Vapor IO, said.

“Spectrum owners should not have to build a distributed data center footprint from scratch when they can lease 5G infrastructure capacity on demand. Through Volutus and 5G-as-a-Service, operators can optimize their capex/opex and improve their balance sheet while creating more agility.”

Crawford highlighted the need to prepare for a rapidly approaching future in which 50 billion connected devices will be streaming 8K video services, and there needing to be “enough glass in the ground to support that amount of traffic”.

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