Sunday 20 March 2022

Vodafone to keep pushing for Open RAN

At Mobile World Congress 2022, Johan Wibergh, Chief Technology Officer of Vodafone presented their vision and plan going forward in the 'Evolving the Network for the Future' session. On his LinkedIn post, he said:

I have just presented at Mobile World Congress #MWC22 and was delighted to announce that around 30% of our European network will run on #OpenRAN by 2030, following the first site going live in the UK last month. This will give us more flexibility and speed in how we operate.

It is also an example of how innovation is coming back to the network.

Disruptive technologies such as Open RAN, Network as a Platform and Multi-Access Edge Computing are perfect illustrations of how we are meeting demand for fast connectivity, as well as driving supply chain diversity, creating digital eco-systems, and inventing new industrial-strength applications.

Also, through our scaled platforms – M-PESA, IoT and now Digital Asset Broker (DAB) – combined with our geographical scale, we aim to help support the digital needs and ambitions of our customers and societies across Europe and Africa.

Around 30,000 sites across Europe will eventually use OpenRAN, with rural areas the first to benefit from the new 4G and 5G masts. When the roll-out reaches cities, the equipment from any existing 5G masts being replaced will then be reused elsewhere to reduce unnecessary wastage.

A press release release from Vodafone has details here

Their MWC22 page has more related news on this and other topics they discussed in Barcelona.

In another news Vodafone announced that seven UK communities is set to receive 4G based on Open RAN. Last year we wrote about their first Open RAN site with Samsung here. At that time it was assumed that Samsung is bring 2G (GSM) but Light Reading recently mentioned that Samsung hasn't got 2G. 

Parallel Wireless has been in Vodafone Turkey network for the last few years doing 2G and 4G as we detailed before. In a press release, Juniper Networks announced that it is working with Vodafone and Parallel Wireless conducting a multivendor RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) trial for tenant-aware admission control use cases. It says:

The trial, initially running in Vodafone’s test labs in Turkey and with plans to move into its test infrastructure, supports O-RAN interfaces and addresses the key business challenges faced by mobile operators around personalized user experience, viable revenue generation and reduction in both CAPEX and OPEX for 4G and 5G services.

The trial is based on an open, software-driven architecture that leverages virtualization to deliver more programmable, automated granular-by-user traffic management. The initial focus is on delivering tenant-aware admission control capability, enabling operators to personalize services and provide superior user experiences. Real-time tracking and enforcement of radio resources across the RAN enables mission-critical users – for example, hospitals and schools – to receive prioritized mobile data services delivery. This capability is enabled by Juniper’s rApp/xApp cloud-based software tools that manage network functions in near real-time, along with Parallel Wireless cloud-native Open RAN functions.

The trial’s design philosophy is focused on demonstrating the potential of enabling open, agile resource management and mobile data delivery in any software-driven RAN environment. This approach enables services and applications to be managed, optimized and mitigated automatically by the RAN, built on real-time data insights from its own performance.

All three organizations are active operators/contributors of the O-RAN ALLIANCE and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), underlining their shared commitment to industry innovation and standards.

Juniper’s RIC solution is architected as an open platform supporting open interfaces on the north bound and south bound side, enabling easier integration with Open RAN partners in the ecosystem. Juniper’s RIC platform will also enable easy integration of third-party rApps/xApps, using UI-based onboarding and deployment tools coupled with flexibility to select between either network-based or SDK-based APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).

Parallel Wireless brings cloud-native Open RAN solutions - which are now integrated with the leading-edge RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) based on O-RAN ALLIANCE specifications from Juniper Networks, giving operators more choices to build the best-of-breed RAN.

Juniper has a short RIC explainer video which is embedded below: 

Telecom TV reminds:

It’s no coincidence that Juniper is involved in Open RAN tests and trials in Turkey: It engineered its way into the RIC R&D scene by striking a deal in January 2021 to take the early RIC work undertaken by Netsia, the tech R&D unit at Türk Telekom, and develop it further, all the while ensuring that the resulting platform would not only conform to Open RAN specifications but also be suitable for deployment by Türk Telekom. As part of that deal, Juniper gained all the IPR and rights, and so has bene able to take it into tests with other operators at will.

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