Vodafone and Mavenir create indoor OpenRAN solution for business customers

Vodafone and Mavenir have developed small cell OpenRAN technology for indoor network coverage.  The solution is designed for businesses with medium to large office spaces and uses OpenRAN to support interoperability and (supposedly) to prevent vendor lock-in.  The new indoor OpenRAN solution provides 4G LTE coverage “initially.”

The design of the indoor small cell solution is based on the OpenRAN philosophy of interoperability (yet to be proven). In this case, the software will be provided by Mavenir (Open vRAN), while Sercomm will provide the radio hardware. The design and flexibility of the small cell solution means it will be interoperable with other OpenRAN compliant vendors.

A powerful, indoor small cell solution can offer several advantages to business customers, according to Vodafone. The simple plug and play installation means coverage can be instantly deployed, enabling seamless connectivity for every device in the office. The interoperability (???) of the OpenRAN ecosystem paves the way for long-term flexibility to work with a wider array of vendors for elements such as radio units, baseband hardware, and gateways.

Editor’s Note:  OpenRAN deployments have yet to demonstrate neutral vendor interoperability, technological advantages over purpose built network equipment, and/or cost reductions (OPEX and/or CAPEX).  Light Reading has said OpenRAN substitutes one form of vendor lock-in for another (partnerships amongst OpenRAN vendors).

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Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone UK, said:

“So far, OpenRAN deployment has focused on outdoor connectivity, but there is significant potential for this technology in the office environment.

A simple plug-and-play product, which includes all the attractive benefits of the OpenRAN philosophy, is one that can build on our strength of providing indoor coverage through both our macro network and our bespoke solutions.”

The convenience offered by plug-and-play enables the small cell equipment to be placed virtually anywhere to ensure coverage across the entire office.

Mavenir’s Open vRAN software is being used for the solution while Sercomm is providing the radio hardware.

Virtyt Koshi, SVP at Mavenir EMEA, commented:

“Mavenir is delighted to partner with Vodafone in Open RAN and to work in the UK on their radio network transformation initiative, proving the extreme flexibility of Open vRAN. 

We are particularly proud in working in the field within the Vodafone commercial network and in the Newbury Open RAN Test and Verification lab, supporting the Vodafone effort to boost the ecosystem.”

The development of an indoor small cell solution is the next stage of a long-standing relationship between Vodafone and Mavenir.   In August 2020, Vodafone deployed the first OpenRAN site to carry live traffic in the UK. The sites, including the Royal Welsh Showground in Powys, feature Mavenir software and Sunwave radio units. Vodafone and Mavenir will continue this partnership to deploy more OpenRAN sites in the future.

References:

Vodafone creating indoor OpenRAN solution for business customers

 

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