Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN) is a concept that involves the interoperability of open hardware, software, and interfaces for cellular wireless networks. 5G Americas, the wireless industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas, today announced the publication of a white paper titled Transition Toward Open & Interoperable Networks, highlighting how Open RAN could enable innovation in 5G networks, as network operators navigate diverse planning and deployment strategies with an interoperable multi-vendor ecosystem.
Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas said, “Open RAN is an important topic in the industry right now. It is a development that requires a full understanding of the technical architecture and interdependent multi-vendor ecosystem.” He added, “Our 5G Americas white paper provides a critical reference tool to the overall growing 5G wireless industry to fully understand the opportunities and challenges of Open RAN.”
Open RAN architecture combines a modular base station software stack with off-the-shelf hardware, which allocates baseband and radio unit components from isolated suppliers to operate seamlessly together, whether or not elements of the RAN are virtualized or disaggregated. Even though Open RAN is gaining momentum, it is at an early phase of commercial adoption by the global wireless community.
This 5G Americas white paper covers the following topics:
- Overview and goals of Open RAN
- Operator trials and deployments
- Introduction to the ecosystem of Open RAN development bodies
- Open RAN architectural considerations
- Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML) initiatives in Open RAN
- Management, orchestration and automation of Self-Organizing Networks (SON) for varying use cases
- Key motivations & challenges faced by operators in adoption of a multi-vendor Open RAN platform
Said Durga Satapathy, Director, Advanced Technologies & Innovation at T-Mobile, “The Open RAN approach has benefited from global collaboration in the telecom ecosystem, and presents itself as an alternative worthy of consideration for greenfield deployments or any time operators embark on network upgrades or enhancements.”
One goal of the Open RAN movement is establishing network architecture that evolves network cellular networks towards an open and intelligent RAN, while complying with 3GPP standards. With Open RAN, operators could deploy networks with a mix-and-match of remote unit (RU) and distributed unit (DU) and central unit (CU) vendors.
Additionally, an Open RAN approach can provide additional flexibility to meet 5G application requirements. Specifically, 5G supports vertical applications with different network requirements for performance, capacity and latency.
Amit Mehrotra, Nokia’s Global Head of Sales for Network Planning, Optimization and Analytics said, “SLA management and seamless integration with existing networks are critical to the success of Open RAN deployments. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning applications will be essential tools to help manage and monetize networks with multiple spectrum bands, network slices and varied applications in this new 5G environment.”
According to Charlie Michaelis, Associate Director of Big Data for AT&T, “ Managing the operations and the customer satisfaction of a heterogeneous-cellular network requires a complex and labor-intensive organization with specific objectives and key success factors. As cellular network operators transition to increasingly diverse heterogeneous 5G systems, AI and machine learning are increasingly needed to not only help manage capital investment, but also to manage the increasingly complex networks."
The paper Transition Toward Open & Interoperable Networks is available for free download on the 5G Americas website. Blog post by Chris Pearson, and presentation slides are also featured on the 5G Americas website.