Juniper Networks, Vodafone and Parallel Wireless in RIC Open RAN Trial

Juniper Networks is working with Vodafone and Parallel Wireless, a pioneer in Open RAN solutions, conducting a multivendor RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) trial for “tenant-aware admission control” use cases. 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.

In January 2022, Vodafone announced that it had teamed with Samsung Networks Europe to switch on the UK’s first Open RAN site to carry live 5G traffic, marking a milestone in the commercial deployment of Open RAN network architectures in Europe, with more than 2,500 additional sites to follow.

Source:  The Fast Mode

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Supporting Quotes:

“Vodafone has a clear vision that all mobile network radio infrastructure should be open – enabling rapid adoption of innovative services. We see this as a key stepping stone to rich innovation and collaboration, the only way that groundbreaking new use cases in 4G and 5G can be developed and cost-effectiveness maximized. In order to accelerate progress in this exciting journey, I am very pleased that Vodafone is hosting a lab and field trial for tenant-aware admission control using O-RAN interfaces, alongside an ecosystem of like-minded technology partners, including Juniper Networks and Parallel Wireless. By working together, we will be able to build smarter networks, better user experiences and drive stronger sustainability measures for B2B use cases.”

– Paco Martin, Head of Open RAN at Vodafone Group

“This multivendor trial at Vodafone has provided the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how Juniper’s RIC, and our focus on enabling seamless application portability, are able to unlock the true potential of Open RAN. By coupling our innovations with those of Parallel Wireless and Vodafone’s operational experience, we are able to achieve a real-world use case that can deliver value and better user experiences with improved economics for operators.”

– Constantine Polychronopoulos, VP, 5G & Telco Cloud at Juniper Networks

Vodafone has been leading in Open RAN innovation since the early days. As the next stage of Open RAN adoption we are excited to partner with Vodafone and Juniper Networks, integrating our state-of-the-art cloud-native, O-RAN ALLIANCE compliant, Open RAN solutions with the leading edge RAN Intelligent Controller from Juniper. 

– Keith Johnson, President at Parallel Wireless

Heavy Reading Comments about RIC:

According to Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown, wireless network operators this year will likely be testing RIC technology in the field. He doesn’t expect full-blown products until the end of this year at the earliest. Vendors in the space range from Juniper Networks to VMware to some open source offerings from the likes of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

RICs could eventually replace self-organizing networks (SON) in classic RAN architectures. RICs help control base stations from a variety of vendors. Specifically, they can support various dynamic networking features such as switching off radios during non-peak times to cut energy costs.  As a result, RICs are key to Open RAN which facilitates the mix and match network elements/base station modules from different vendors, rather than being locked into a tightly integrated stack of components supplied by just one vendor.

RICs come in two flavors: near-real time RICs and non-real time RICS. Brown expects most of the early RIC deployments to be of the non-real time variety because those specifications are farther along and less tightly coupled with the control of baseband scheduling.

About Juniper Networks:

Juniper Networks is dedicated to dramatically simplifying network operations and driving superior experiences for end users. Our solutions deliver industry-leading insight, automation, security and AI to drive real business results. We believe that powering connections will bring us closer together while empowering us all to solve the world’s greatest challenges of well-being, sustainability and equality. Additional information can be found at Juniper Networks (www.juniper.net) or connect with Juniper on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

Juniper Networks, the Juniper Networks logo, Juniper, Junos, and other trademarks listed here are registered trademarks of Juniper Networks, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

References:

https://newsroom.juniper.net/news/news-details/2022/Juniper-Networks-Collaborates-with-Vodafone-and-Parallel-Wireless-on-Groundbreaking-Open-RAN-Use-Case-Trial/default.aspx

https://www.juniper.net/us/en/research-topics/what-is-ric.html

https://www.lightreading.com/open-ran/growth-in-ric-how-open-ran-could-get-smarter/d/d-id/775108

Juniper to integrate RAN Intelligent Controller with Intel’s FlexRAN platform for Open RAN

https://www.thefastmode.com/expert-opinion/18213-the-ultimate-guide-to-open-ran-open-ran-intelligent-controller-ric-part-1

Additional Resources:

YouTube: RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) – Unlocking the True Potential of O-RAN
Open RAN Solutions: Juniper Networks

Research TopicWhat is a RAN Intelligent Controller?

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