Making open RAN happen

Open RAN is a new way to build mobile access networks with many benefits.

Gabriel Brown, Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading

June 3, 2020

2 Min Read
Making open RAN happen

Open RAN is a new way to build mobile access networks. The arguments in favor are reasonably well known: 1) Increase vendor diversity and, therefore, industry competition and resiliency; 2) Enable software-centric innovation in the RAN; 3) Capture faster upgrade cycles and drive economies of scale associated with off-the-shelf hardware; and 4) Apply cloud automation and operating models in mobile access networks.

The challenge is that to realize these benefits, the industry needs to actually build the products that operators can integrate and deploy into live networks. By definition, this means an open ecosystem in which multiple parties can interwork to provide the software, hardware, interfaces and management tools needed to create a competitive RAN system.

In a new white paper, "TIP OpenRAN: Toward Disaggregated Mobile Networking," I discuss how several industry bodies, including the 3GPP (the major industry standards body), the O-RAN Alliance, the Small Cell Forum and the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance, are working to develop RAN architectures, specifications and implementations. In the paper, produced in association with the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), I write that TIP distinguishes itself by focusing on reference technical implementations and by working with operator members to accelerate commercial deployment of open RAN.

The paper focuses on the work of TIP OpenRAN Project Group, which was one of the first industry initiatives to focus on multi-vendor open RAN. By working together in a co-creation process the group has been able to help advance all parts of the RAN ecosystem, from requirements documents, reference implementations and lab testing facilities, to field trials and operator RFIs.

A download of the paper is available here: TIP OpenRAN: Toward Disaggregated Mobile Networking.

To discuss the work of the OpenRAN Project Group and look ahead to the next phases of work, Light Reading and TIP will together host a special video webinar on June 30 with expert guest speakers from Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom. The three guest speakers are:

  • Yago Tenorio, Head, Group Network Architecture, Vodafone/TIP Chairman

  • Abdu Mudesir, SVP, Services & Platforms, Deutsche Telekom Technik/TIP Board Member

  • David Hutton, Chief Engineer, TIP

To register for the event, click here. Among the topics to be covered are:

  • Progress on multi-party open RAN system development

  • Progress towards commercialization at scale

  • Progress on the Evenstar open radio program

— Gabriel Brown, Principal Analyst, Mobile Networks, Heavy Reading

This blog is sponsored by the Telecom Infra Project

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About the Author(s)

Gabriel Brown

Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading

Gabriel leads mobile network research for Heavy Reading. His coverage includes system architecture, RAN, core, and service-layer platforms. Key research topics include 5G, open RAN, mobile core, and the application of cloud technologies to wireless networking.

Gabriel has more than 20 years’ experience as a mobile network analyst. Prior to joining Heavy Reading, he was chief analyst for Light Reading’s Insider research service; before that, he was editor of IP Wireline and Wireless Week at London's Euromoney Institutional Investor.

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