Ericsson expresses concerns about O-RAN Alliance and Open RAN performance vs. costs

In a letter to the FCC, Jared M. Carlson, Ericsson’s Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy expressed his company’s concern with the O-RAN Alliance. In particular, an August report of the European Commission could not determine whether the O-RAN Alliance was complying with various WTO criteria, including transparency and open procedures, and also noted a concern that any one of the five founding members could effectively veto any proposed specification.

Some O-RAN Alliance specifications are proceeding slowly, according to Ericsson.  One reason why can be explained simply by the resources devoted to the group. For example, O-RAN front-haul meetings (a more mature O-RAN specification) sees about 60 members attending, with only about ten members actively contributing. In contrast, in a typical 3GPP RAN Plenary, there are approximately 600 members delivering 1000 contributions per quarter.

The lack of completed O-RAN specifications means that any such deployments require individual vendors to come to mutual agreements—a far cry from the “plug-and-play” vision of a complete set of Open RAN network interface standards.  Light Reading referred to that months ago as another form of “vendor lock-in.”

Mike Murphy, CTO, Ericsson North America told the FCC that Ericsson has dedicated a number of resources to making O-RAN Alliance specifications successful, delivering about 1000 of 7000 total specifications,” the company told the FCC, citing Murphy’s presentation. “Indeed, without Ericsson’s contributions to the O-RAN Alliance, the timeline for more fully developed standards would likely be even further out in the future.”

Regarding security, Mr. Murphy noted that, again, Ericsson is one the top three contributors to the O-RAN Alliance Security working group.  Yet there are no security specifications from the O-RAN Alliance Security group—there is only a set of requirements.  He also noted that the performance of Open RAN does not compare to (vendor specific, purpose built) integrated RAN. Even if the so called 40% cost saving estimates were true on a per-unit cost basis, the two different types of RAN equipment would not deliver the same level of performance.

Furthermore, Ericsson’s own estimates have indicated that Open RAN is more expensive than integrated RAN given the need for more equipment to accomplish what purpose-built solutions can deliver and increased systems integration costs.  That’s quite shocking considering that many upstarts (e.g. Rakuten, Inland Cellular, etc) have stated Open RAN is cheaper.  For example, “Open RAN will allow for cost savings over proprietary architectures,” Open RAN vendor Mavenir declared in its own recent meeting with FCC officials. The company said open RAN equipment can reduce network providers’ operating expenses by 40% and total cost of ownership by 36%.

Ericsson isn’t the only 5G company cautioning the FCC on Open RAN. Nokia – another major 5G equipment vendor – made similar arguments in a recent presentation to the FCC. “While there are some vendors that only offer open RAN architecture and/or limited RAN products, Nokia is able to provide a choice of classical or open RAN depending on the desires of our customers,”  Nokia explained. “To date, the vast majority of service providers have chosen classical RAN solutions, deferring investment in open RAN until further commercial maturity has been demonstrated.”

Nokia also took issue with the notion that open RAN equipment is dramatically cheaper than traditional, classic RAN equipment. “The draft cost catalog also demonstrates that there are not cost savings being offered through open RAN equipment estimates compared to integrated RAN estimates,” Nokia wrote to the FCC in April following the release of the agency’s initial, draft pricing catalogue.

Many telecom professionals, like John Strand, argue that open RAN is not yet mature. They contend that government mandates that would require the use of the technology – in a furtherance of geopolitical goals – would be misguided. “The US has clearly demonstrated that open and intense competition, not government mandates, is the most effective way to mobilize the telecom industry to enable unprecedented innovation and value creation,” Ericsson told the FCC. “The US led the world in 4G and the ‘app economy’ not by insisting on any particular network standard, but by creating an open, predictable and attractive investment climate for all industry stakeholders and allowing operators to select the best technology based on their needs.”

Mr. Murphy concluded that the Commission and the U.S. government more generally should continue to “keep their eyes on the prize.” Notably, ensuring that the U.S. continues to smooth the way for 5G deployments will continue to pay dividends for the U.S. economy, with over $500 Billion added to the U.S. economy from 5G-enabled business, is the critical job of the day. The key step the Commission can take is to continue to foster the deployment of 5G.

References:

https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/1117953022367/Ericsson%20Open%20RAN%20ex%20parte%20Nov%2017%20FINAL.pdf

https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/1117953022367/Ericsson%20O-RAN%20Update%20FINAL.pdf

https://www.lightreading.com/open-ran/ericsson-actually-open-ran-is-more-expensive/d/d-id/773617?

https://www.lightreading.com/open-ran/fcc-acknowledges-open-ran-is-cheaper-albeit-with-reservations/d/d-id/771467

TIP OpenRAN and O-RAN Alliance liaison and collaboration for Open Radio Access Networks

O-RAN Alliance, Telecom Infra Project (TIP) & OCP Telco may open up telecom equipment market to new entrants

 

Strand Consult: What NTIA won’t tell the FCC about Open RAN

Addendum -Tuesday 23 November 2021:

German study warns of security risks in Open RAN standards 

Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN) based on the standards of the O-RAN Alliance carry significant security risks in their current form, according to a study commissioned by Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). The analysis was carried out by the Barkhausen Institute, an independent research institution, in cooperation with the group Advancing Individual Networks in Dresden and the company Secunet Security Networks.

The implementation of Open RAN standards by the O-RAN Alliance is based on the 5G-RAN specifications developed by the 3GPP. Using a best / worst case scenarios analysis, the German study demonstrated that the Open RAN standards have not yet been sufficiently specified in terms of ‘security by design’, and in some cases carry security risks. The BSI called for the study’s findings to be taken into account in the further development of the Open RAN ecosystem, in order to support the rapid growth of the market with security from the start.

The open RAN project is supported by all three mobile operators in Germany – Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica – as well as the 1&1, which is building a fourth network in the country. The German government also recently awarded EUR 32 million in subsidies to support further development of the open RAN technology.

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/german-study-warns-of-security-risks-in-open-ran-standards–1405252

Samsung partners with Orange to deliver 5G vRAN and O-RAN compliant base stations

Samsung Electronics has announced that it is collaborating with the France headquartered telecom operator Orange, to disaggregate the software and hardware elements of traditional RAN. The South Korea based tech giant will provide its virtualized RAN (vRAN), “which has been proven in the field through commercial deployments with global Tier one operators including the U.S.”

As one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, Orange provides mobile services to 222 million users in 26 countries along with Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Through this partnership, Samsung and Orange aim to deploy O-RAN Alliance-compliant base stations beginning with rural and indoor configurations and then, expanding to new deployments in the future.

Open RAN is a major evolution of radio access that requires deeper cooperation within the industry. With our European peers, we want to accelerate the development of Open RAN solutions that meet our needs. After the publication of common specifications, Orange’s Open RAN Integration Center will support the development and tuning of solutions from a broad variety of actors,” said Arnaud Vamparys, Senior Vice President of Radio Access Networks and Microwaves at Orange.

Samsung’s vRAN solutions can help ensure more network flexibility, greater scalability and resource efficiency for network operation by replacing dedicated baseband hardware with software elements. Additionally, Samsung’s vRAN supports both low and mid-band spectrums, as well as indoor and outdoor solutions. Samsung is the only major network vendor that has conducted vRAN commercial deployments with Tier one operators in North America, Europe and Asia.

“We are pleased to participate in Orange’s innovative laboratory,” said Woojune Kim, Executive Vice President, Head of Global Sales & Marketing, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “Through this collaboration, we look forward to taking networks to new heights in the European market, enabling operators to offer more immersive mobile services to their users.”

By opening its Open RAN Integration Center in Châtillon, near Paris, Orange will enable the testing and deployment of networks capable of operating with innovative technologies, which will serve as the backbone of the operator’s future networks. At the center, Samsung and Orange will conduct trials to verify capabilities and performance of Samsung’s vRAN, radio and Massive MIMO radio.

With a vRAN approach, carriers are able to rapidly shift capacity to address customer needs. For business customers, vRAN can drive more efficient access to private 5G networks through easy deployment of baseband software in Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) facilities.

“We are committed to providing reliable, secure, and flexible network solutions that deliver the power of 5G around the world,” said Magnus Ojert, Vice President, Networks Division, Samsung Electronics America. “We believe vRAN’s next phase of innovation will accelerate what’s possible for society and look forward to collaborating with an industry-leader like Verizon to make 5G a reality for millions in 2021.”

Samsung says they have “pioneered the successful delivery of 5G end-to-end infrastructure solutions including chipsets, radios and core. Through ongoing research and development, Samsung drives the industry to advance 5G networks with its market-leading product portfolio from fully virtualized RAN and Core to private network solutions and AI-powered automation tools. The company is currently providing network solutions to mobile operators that deliver connectivity to hundreds of millions of users around the world.”

References:

https://news.samsung.com/global/samsung-and-orange-collaborate-to-advance-5g-networks-to-a-new-level

https://www.samsung.com/global/business/networks/products/radio-access/virtualized-ran/

https://www.samsung.com/global/business/networks/insights/press-release/0122-samsung-expands-5g-technology-leadership-with-fully-virtualized-commercial-5g-ran/

Samsung’s 5G vRAN adoption could be a key turning point for the industry

Open RAN: A game-changer for mobile communications in India?

The author is a former Advisor, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India

The mobile network comprises two domains: The Radio Access Network (RAN) and the Core Network. The RAN is the final link between the network and the phone. It includes an antenna on the tower plus the base station. Though it was possible for the operators to have one vendor for the core and a separate vendor for the RAN, the same was not done because of interoperability issues.

Open RAN is the hot topic now-a-days and most talked about technology, both in diplomatic and technical circles. This is a three year old technology and fifty operators in more than two fifty countries have deployed open RAN. First it was deployed in the network of Rakuten mobile, a Japanese telecom service provider. This technology makes RAN agnostic to vendors, programmable and converts it to plug & play type. Open RAN is at the epicentre of the digital transformation and plays a critical role in bringing more diversity to the 5G ecosystem. It is required for faster 5G rollout. Domestic (India) vendors may get the opportunity to supply the building blocks of RAN and so it is an initiative towards ‘self-reliant India.’

The RAN accounts for 60 per cent of capex/opex of mobile networks and so a lot of focus is there to reduce RAN costs. 5G signals have a shorter range than previous generation signals. As a result 5G networks require more base stations to provide the required coverage. So in 5G networks this percentage may be still higher.

Open RAN implementation reduces RAN costs. Instead of concentrating on making end-to-end open, opening the RAN ecosystem is given priority by the operators. The open RAN standards aim to undo the siloed nature of the RAN market where a handful of RAN vendors only offer equipment and software that is totally proprietary. Proprietary products are typically more expensive than their generic counterparts. Cellular networks have been evolving with various innovations. It has evolved from 1G to 5G. With these evolutions networks are evolving towards open networks having open interface and interoperability. Open RAN is a term used for industry wide standards for RAN interfaces that support interoperation between different vendor’s equipment and offer network flexibility at a lower cost. The main purpose of open RAN is to have an interoperability standard for RAN elements including non-proprietary hardware and software from different vendors. An open environment means an expanded ecosystem, with more vendors providing the building blocks. Open RAN helps the operators to overcome  “Vendor lock in” introducing ‘best of breed’ network solutions.

There will be more innovations and more options for the operators. With a multi -vendor catalog of technologies, network operators have the flexibility to tailor the functionality of their RANs to the operators’ needs. They can add new services easily. Open RAN gives new equipment vendors the chance to enter the market with Commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware. An influx of new vendors will spur competition. Cell site deployment will be faster. Third Party products can communicate with the main RAN vendor’s infrastructure. New features can be added more quickly for end users.

Current RAN technology is provided as a hardware and software integrated platform. The aim of open RAN is to create a multi supplier RAN solution that allows for the separation or disaggregation between hardware and software with open interface. Open RAN is about disaggregated RAN functionality built using open interface specifications between blocks. It can be implemented in vendor neutral hardware and software based on open interfaces and community developed standards.

In an open RAN environment, the RAN is disaggregated into three main building blocks:

  • Radio Unit (RU)
  • Distribution unit (DU)
  • Centralized unit(CU)

The RU is where the radiofrequency signals are transmitted, received, amplified and digitized. It is located near or integrated into the antenna. The DU and CU are parts of the base station that send the digitized radio signal into the network. The DU is physically located at or near the RU whereas the CU can be located nearer the Core. DU is connected with RU on Optical Fiber cable. The concept of open RAN is opening the protocols and interfaces between these building blocks (radio, hardware and software) in the RAN.

Another feature of Open RAN is the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) which adds programmability to the RAN. For example, Artificial Intelligence can be introduced via the RIC to optimise the performance of the network in the vicinity of a cricket stadium on a match day. The RIC works by exposing an API (Application Programming Interface) which lets software talk to each other. There are two types of RIC: near-real time and non real time. Both perform logical functions for controlling and optimizing the elements and resources of open RAN. A near-real time RIC (response time on the order of 10’s of milliseconds) controls and optimizes elements and resources with data collection and communication. A non-real time RIC (response time greater than one second) uses AI and Machine Learning (ML) workflows that include model training, where the workflows learn how to better control and optimize the RAN elements and resources.

The O-RAN alliance has defined eleven different interfaces within the RAN including those for:

Front haul between RU and DU Mid haul between DU and CU Backhaul connecting the RAN to the Core (also called as transport network)

O-RAN alliance is a specification group defining next generation RAN infrastructures, empowered by principles of intelligence and openness. Openness allows smaller players in the RAN market to launch their own services. It was founded in 2018.

O-RAN alliance is a worldwide community of around two hundred mobile operators, vendors and research and academic institutions operating in the Radio Access Network industry. Its goals include to build mechanisms for enabling AI and ML for more efficient network management and orchestration. It supports its members in testing and implementation of their open RAN implementation. O-RAN conducts world wide plug tests to demonstrate the functionality as well as the multi vendor interoperability of open network equipment. O-RAN alliance develops, drives and enforces standards to ensure that equipment from multiple vendors interoperate with each other. It creates standards where none are available, for example Front haul and creates profiles for interoperability testing where standards are available.

Open RAN challenges:

1. Integration of equipment from multiple vendors

2. Since equipment is from different vendors, operators have to have multiple Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

3. Network latency may increase

4. Reliability and availability may be a challenge

5. Staff has to acquire multiple skill sets

6. Security Concerns

Open RAN offers a golden opportunity for software developers to become a global hub for offering RAN solutions. This technology leads to a great disruption to the traditional ecosystem and accelerates the adoption of more innovative technologies. The disaggregation of RAN has also added further advantages by enabling better network slicing and edge compute capabilities.

References:

https://www.telecomtv.com/content/open-ran/how-vran-can-be-a-game-changer-for-5g-40019/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/?q=Open%20RAN#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=Open%20RAN&gsc.page=1

Symware: Carrier-grade Open RAN platform leveraging cloud-native architecture

Intel, Juniper Networks, and Rakuten Symphony announced a collaborative effort to create Symware, a carrier-grade Open RAN platform for mobile network operators to modernize radio cell sites by leveraging the latest cloud-native architecture. This Symware multipurpose edge appliance provides operators with the flexibility to densify their network, accommodate various network topologies, and support new features while reducing the required hardware per site, according to the partners.  Symware is targeted for availability the first half of 2022 through Rakuten Symphony.
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Backgrounder: Mobile network operators around the world (e.g. Telecom Italia, Vodafone, Telefonica, Rakuten, Dish Network, etc) are starting to deploy Open RAN and cloud-native architecture in their networks, which will provide them greater agility, enable smarter security, and empower them with new levels of automation while broadening and securing their supply chain.
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“We have a great opportunity to disrupt this industry, we have a great opportunity to really connect everything and bring better value to overall society and Rakuten Symphony is the platform idea for all the software technology stack that we have built into Japan. We wanted to take four years of lessons and package them into solutions that deliver immediate benefits to our customers and the telecoms industry,” said Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony.

“Rakuten Symphony constantly looks to introduce leading-edge innovations to accelerate network transformations. With our partners, we have developed a cost-performance optimized appliance that simplifies the cell site deployment for 4G, 5G and future generations of mobile technology. Symware provides operators with the ultimate future-proof cell site solution that enables them to flexibly densify their network and accommodate various network topologies at the lowest cost.”

Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony speaking at 2021 MWC-LA

The Symware multipurpose edge appliance combines the containerized cell site routing functionality and a containerized Distributed Unit on a single general purpose server platform, which significantly reduces the capital and operating expenditures for an operator. Offering consistent carrier-grade routing stack across both physical and virtual Radio Access Networks, the solution readily enables 5G network slicing features both in RAN and transport domains including slice isolation, slice monitoring and dynamic traffic steering through segment routing. The solution supports automation with zero-touch provisioning, rolling updates, telemetry and analytics for all the components, and is based on the Kubernetes® ecosystem for orchestration and networking.  Rakuten Symphony believes the solution will help slash total cost of ownership, fast track RAN innovation and provide greater agility, smart security and new levels of automation.

Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president and general manager, Network Platforms Group added, “We continue to see the industry shift to take advantage of the many benefits provided by the cloudification of the RAN. By utilizing our Next Generation Intel® Xeon® D Processors and FlexRANTM reference software, this collaboration showcases how RAN workloads can be consolidated onto a single server and meet the performance, capacity and cost requirements of 5G RAN deployments.”

Raj Yavatkar, Juniper’s CTO, stated, “Removing the obstacles of deploying ORAN in disaggregated production networks is critical for 5G growth. Integrated routing and ORAN in a single platform delivers cost and operational benefits for network operators. Combined with industry leading Intel technology and Rakuten’s DU software, Juniper’s disaggregated and state-of-art routing stack offers operators a unique solution for delivering differentiated 5G services including network slicing.”

Developed with Rakuten Symphony’s know-how and experience with cloud-native and Open RAN-based networks, leading containerized RAN software from Altiostar, a Rakuten Symphony company, Next Generation Intel® Xeon® D Processors and FlexRANTM reference software, and Juniper’s carrier-hardened cloud-native routing stack, Symware will give operators more opportunity to create innovations within their networks, while broadening and securing their supply chain.

* KUBERNETES ® is a registered trademark of the Linux Foundation in the United States and other countries.

* Intel and Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries.

About Intel
Intel is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers’ greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better. To learn more about Intel’s innovations, go to newsroom.intel.com and intel.com.

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.

About Rakuten Symphony
Rakuten Symphony, a Rakuten Group organization with operations across Japan, Singapore, India, EMEA, and the United States, develops and brings to the global marketplace cloud-native, Open RAN telco infrastructure platforms, services and solutions, through the Rakuten Communications Platform. For more information visit https://symphony.rakuten.com/.

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In related news, Rakuten Mobile (parent company of Rakuten Symphony) recently announced an agreement to acquire Estmob, a South Korean peer-to-peer file transfer solution start-up. The Japanese carrier said that the acquisition will establish a research and development presence in South Korea for Rakuten Symphony.

Telefónica Deutschland/O2 “pure 5G” with DSS, Open RAN and 5G SA

One year after the 5G launch, Telefónica Deutschland / O2 confirms their 5G network will cover over 50 percent of the German population by the end of 2022. The company is also on track to cover of over 30 percent of the population by the end of 2021. The basis for this 5G network expansion is the  investment of around four billion euros until the end of 2022.

The focus of this 5G network expansion is on so-called “pure 5G” via the mid-band 3.6 GHz frequency. The 3,000th 3.6 GHz antenna just went live in the O2 5G network. Meanwhile, Telefónica Deutschland / O2 is installing around 180 of these 5G antennas in the network every week, tendency further increasing. The company is expanding 5G twice as fast overall compared to 4G and is fully on track to supply all of Germany with 5G by the end of 2025.

As with 2G, 3G and 4G, we are also bringing 5G to mass market readiness in Germany through rapid network expansion, network investments in the billions and products with the best price-performance ratio,” said CEO Markus Haas on the first anniversary of the 5G launch in the O2 network.

“Since the beginning, we have aligned the 5G roll-out with the concrete benefits for private customers and businesses. This is the most effective way for us to drive forward the urgently needed digitisation for business and consumers. Today, one year after the launch, our 5G network is already live in a hundred cities. And current international tests confirm that it is the fastest 5G network in Germany. Now we will also quickly bring the O2 5G network to the area.”

The added value of 5G for private customers in this early expansion phase, beyond the performance advantages, lies primarily in the additional network capacities provided by the new mobile communications standard. In the first half of 2021, the O2 mobile network transported 1 billion gigabytes of data, an absolute record. Cities are data traffic hotspots. The growing number of urban 5G users is increasingly shifting parts of this data traffic to the 5G network, thus relieving the 4G network. In this way, the O2 5G network also ensures a consistently good network experience for 4G users of all Telefónica Deutschland / O2 brands and partner brands.

Market penetration with 5G is visibly gaining speed. In the meantime, 5G smartphones account for more than 50 percent of all end devices sold through Telefónica Deutschland / O2 sales channels. In line with this, Telefónica Deutschland / O2 is now moving the 5G network expansion more strongly into the area. Here, too, the telecommunications company is focusing on so-called “pure 5G” via the 3.6 GHz frequency. In the future, it will provide private and business users with multiple gigabit data speeds and response times (latency) of just a few milliseconds.

This is where “pure 5G” differs from the combined 4G/5G via Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), which currently prevails in other German 5G networks [1.]. 5G shares lower frequency bands with 4G at comparable performance levels. Where it is a useful 4G extension in selected areas, the company will also use Dynamic Spectrum Sharing. In addition, it is partially rolling out 5G purely over the 700 MHz frequency to accelerate area rollout and lay the groundwork for the upcoming 5G Stand Alone in the O2 network. The first sites are already live.

Note 1. Both Vodafone Germany and Telekom Deutschland use DSS to facilitate the rollout of 5G by sharing spectrum between 4G and 5G networks: Vodafone has deployed the technology to switch 700MHz frequencies back and forth between 4G and 5G, while Telekom Deutschland is rolling out DSS as part of a 5G expansion drive and is apportioning 5MHz of its 2.1GHz resource for 4G and 5G as needed.  Telefónica Deutschland, which has already said it would use DSS for deployment in rural areas, conceded it will use DSS for 4G expansion in “selected areas.” The operator also appeared to indicate that its 5G deployment over 700MHz will be only partially “pure,” in order to accelerate its network expansion.

Photo Credits: Henning Koepke / Telefónica Deutschland

Telefónica Deutschland / O2 is continuously increasing its 5G network expansion despite parallel major projects such as the 3G switch-off and densification of the 4G network. In addition, the company has set the course for its 5G network of the future in the last twelve months. Telefónica Deutschland / O2 was the first German network operator to bring the innovative open architecture Open RAN for the mobile access network out of the laboratory and into live operation.

The conversion to Open RAN will start before the end of this year. It will give the company greater flexibility in the choice of manufacturers and, as a primarily software-based solution, simplify and accelerate the upgrading of base stations.  Telefónica Group has appointed NEC as systems integrator for open RAN trials in its four main markets – Spain, Germany, the UK and Brazil.

 O2 plans to deploy Open RAN later this year

In addition, Telefónica Deutschland / O2 achieved the first frequency bundling in the 5G live network in this country via carrier aggregation, which further accelerates 5G for customers and ensures a stable high data throughput. The O2 network also recently saw the German premiere of the first voice call directly via the 5G live network. These 5G calls do not take a diversion via the 4G network and thus no longer interrupt ongoing 5G data connections. Finally, Telefónica Deutschland / O2 now operates an independent 5G core network (no explanation given for what that means?).

The company has thus created the basis for freeing the new network from its technical dependence on 4G and will provide a 5G core network for 5G Stand Alone (SA).  In future, this will enable private and business customers to use even the most demanding 5G applications. Technically, the company is already in a position to roll out a nationwide 5G Stand Alone network.

As soon as 5G Stand Alone offers real added value for customers, O2 will activate the technology. For example, when enough end devices in the market support 5G SA. Telefónica Deutschland is working with Ericsson for its 5G core network, but noted that the deployment of open radio access network (RAN) technology will ensure access to a wider group of vendors.

Over the past year of 5G service, Telefónica Deutschland / O2 has started to move their 5G core network for industrial applications to the cloud. This will significantly simplify the establishment of 5G campus networks, accelerate the introduction of new industrial applications for companies and shorten the time to market for new products and applications, according to the company.

The rapid expansion of the 5G network helps Telefónica Deutschland / O2 to pursue its corporate goal of offering its customers the greenest mobile network in Germany by 2025. 5G transmits significantly more energy-efficiently than the predecessor standards. The conversion of 3G to 4G and 5G network technology alone will reduce the power consumption of the O2 network by up to 90 percent per transported byte. In addition, the company will make a significant contribution to achieving Germany’s climate targets overall. Its 5G network will pave the way for digital solutions and all-round connectivity, helping other industries to save CO2 emissions and develop sustainable business models.

References:

https://www.telefonica.de/news/press-releases-telefonica-germany/2021/10/focus-on-pure-5g-over-3-6-ghz-frequency-fast-o2-network-expansion-50-per-cent-5g-coverage-by-the-end-of-2022.html

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/o2-germany-boasts-of-pure-5g-but-concedes-dss-need/d/d-id/772583?

Rakuten Symphony Inc. to provide 4G and 5G infrastructure and platform solutions to the global market

Japan’s Rakuten Group today announced that they have resolved to incorporate Rakuten Symphony, a business organization of the Company, and start considering a capital and business alliance (in other words, investments).

As announced on August 4, 2021 in “Rakuten launches Rakuten Symphony to accelerate adoption of cloud-native, open RAN-based mobile networks worldwide,” alongside Rakuten Communications Platform (hereafter “RCP“), Rakuten Symphony, a new business organization, was newly launched by consolidating the products and services to be implemented.

Rakuten Symphony aims to provide a future-proof, cost-effective, communication cloud platform for carriers, businesses and government agencies around the world.

Rakuten Symphony is a global business organization that develops solution businesses in Japan, the United States, Singapore, India, Europe, and the Middle East / Africa. Through this  incorporation, accountability (duties) will be clarified, flexible decision-making and business execution will be possible, and products, services, and solutions for telecommunications carriers will be consolidated across the board.

“We will be ready to provide 4G and 5G infrastructure and platform solutions to the global market.”

In addition, as announced in “1&1 and Rakuten agree far-reaching partnership to build Europe’s first fully virtualized mobile network based on new Open RAN technology” also on August 4, 1&1 has agreed to comprehensively adopt RCP. This business has been steadily accumulating its achievements. In order to further accelerate the global expansion of innovative mobile network solutions, Rakuten Symphony, Inc., a newly established corporation, will consider accepting capital, etc. in addition to business partnerships with strategic partners.

The Company will establish its position as a global leader in cloud-centric and virtualized Open RAN-based mobile networks, by expanding its communication platform business overseas, as well as its track record of expanding its mobile carrier business in Japan.

Mike Dano of Light Reading wrote:

It’s no surprise that Rakuten is pulling out all the stops to make Symphony a success. The operation’s Symphony contract with flagship customer 1&1 in Germany is worth between $2.3 billion and $2.7 billion over a ten-year period, reports Nikkei Asia. By contrast, Rakuten made about $1.8 billion in revenues at its Japanese mobile business in the last year.

“This business has been steadily accumulating its achievements,” Rakuten wrote this week, pointing specifically to its 1&1 deal.

Light Reading reported in March 2020 of Rakuten’s plans to sell a networking platform internationally. The offering was initially dubbed Rakuten Mobile Platform (RMP), and then Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP), but the company in August named it Symphony and said the operation targeted an addressable market of up to $100 billion.

Symphony is essentially the portfolio of technologies Rakuten uses in its Japanese mobile network – alongside other offerings from its partners – that it is now pitching to other service providers and networking hopefuls worldwide. According to Rakuten, companies can purchase all or parts of Symphony in order to quickly and easily roll out their own open RAN 5G networks.

Thus, Symphony is now on a collision course with a wide range of other players selling similar offerings. Ericsson, Amazon, Google and Mavenir are among the many providers hoping to assemble a product portfolio stretching across core networking, radio hardware and associated software and services, and then to rope in deals with customers ranging from enterprises to government agencies.

References:

https://global.rakuten.com/corp/news/press/2021/0930_03.html

https://www.lightreading.com/the-core/rakuten-rearranges-symphony-for-investments/d/d-id/772501?

 

O-RAN Alliance tries to allay concerns; Strand Consult disagrees!

The O-RAN Alliance reiterated its commitment towards Open and intelligent Radio Access Network (RAN) and said its board has approved changes to O-RAN “participation documents and procedures” to allay concerns of some participants who may be subjected to U.S. export regulations.

The O-RAN Alliance became aware of concerns regarding some participants that may be subject to U.S. export regulations, and has been working with O-RAN participants to address these concerns. The O-RAN Board has approved changes to O-RAN participation documents and procedures. While it is up to each O-RAN participant to make their own evaluation of these changes, O-RAN is optimistic that the changes will address the concerns and facilitate O-RAN’s mission.

“O-RAN is an open and collaborative global alliance operating in a way that promotes transparency and participation of our member companies in the development and adoption of global open specifications and standards,” said Andre Fuetsch, Chairman of the O-RAN ALLIANCE and Chief Technology Officer of AT&T.

“We remain fully committed to working together in the alliance to achieve the goals and objectives of O-RAN as quickly as possible,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, Chief Operating Officer of the O-RAN ALLIANCE and SVP of Strategy and Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom.

This comes after Nokia halted its work in the Open RAN industry alliance over concerns that it may face penalties from the U.S. government for working with blacklisted Chinese entities.

John Strand’s comments:

This statement is not solving the Chinese security problem.  Even with the proposed changes, the five founding members, including China Mobile, still have a veto. The statement from O-RAN Alliance raises more questions than it answers. Who are the member companies, do the network operators agree with the O-RAN Alliance statement? How about contributors and the license adopters?

Strand Consult wants to create the transparency O-RAN Alliance are fighting against, and I share the concerns of the EU and the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee when it comes to transparency. At the same time, we believe it is a great idea for O-RAN Alliance to become WTO (World Trade Organization) compliant like other professional telecom standard bodies. What’s the problem for ORAN Alliance to be WTO compliant? It’s hard to see any downside.

Strand Consult doesn’t believe the changes will satisfy WTO requirements nor does it align with the practices of professional standards organizations nor with shareholder practices of U.S. and EU publicly traded companies.

Last year Strand Consult exposed the 44 Chinese companies involved in the O-RAN Alliance three of them on the entity list.

The O-RAN Alliance proposes changes to mitigate Chinese involvement. However these changes will probably not satisfy WTO compliance rules. Here are some relevant report from EU/WTO and European Commission (EC) on OpenRAN: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tbt_e/principles_standards_tbt_e.htm

https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/library/commission-publishes-study-future-5g-supply-ecosystem-europe

https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/dae/redirection/document/78778 (page 76).

The EC’s report is based on publicly available information and an interview with a legal expert on the WTO rules and EU Regulation No 1025/2012. It notes the following concerns with the O-RAN Alliance’s proposed changes:

  • First,  the  required  transparency,  i.e.  all  essential  information  is  easily  accessible  to  all  interested parties, is only partly fulfilled, e.g. the O-RAN specifications are not accessible at  the homepage.
  • Second, the procedure is not open in a non-discriminatory manner during all stages of the  standard-setting process, because the founding members have access to more information than the contributors during the process.
  • Third, although interested contributors have opportunities to contribute to the elaboration of  the specifications, the founding members have a privilege, because they have the necessary minority of more than 25% to block proposals.

Overall, proof that the O-RAN Alliance complies with the various WTO criteria is  still missing, although some of their members assure this compliance is in place. “Consequently, such an independent  assessment is needed, which, however, cannot be realized within the context of this project.”

The O-RAN Alliance does not satisfy the openness criteria laid down in WTO Principles  for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations. The O-RAN Alliance is a closed industrial collaboration developing technical RAN specification over and above 3GPP specifications or ITU-R recommendations.

3GPP was formed after 2G (GSM) was developed this means that 3GPP did not develop 2G but 3GPP ensured backward compatibility for every G. Note that 3GPP specifications define the technical specifications for a complete mobile cellular network 2G/3G/4G/5G.  ITU-R recommendations only cover the radio access interface technologies, e.g. ITU M.2150/IMT 2020 for “5G.”

It is possible that some U.S. firms could be satisfied with the O-RAN Alliances proposals, but the fact remains that Chinese companies still exert disproportionate authority on this industry group. It is not yet clear with U.S. President Biden or the NTIA will weigh in on the matter.  If not, this could be interpreted as placating, or even going soft on China.

Strand Consult discloses on its website that it is a company providing knowledge to the mobile industry, specifically mobile operators and their managers, executives, and boards of directors. Strand Consult only sells knowledge to mobile operators, and Strand Consult has done this for 25 years (see About Strand Consult below).

About O-RAN ALLIANCE:

The O-RAN ALLIANCE is a world-wide community of over 300 mobile operators, vendors, and research & academic institutions operating in the Radio Access Network (RAN) industry. As the RAN is an essential part of any mobile network, the O-RAN ALLIANCE’s mission is to re-shape the industry towards more intelligent, open, virtualized and fully interoperable mobile networks. The new O-RAN standards will enable a more competitive and vibrant RAN supplier ecosystem with faster innovation to improve user experience. O-RAN based mobile networks will at the same time improve the efficiency of RAN deployments as well as operations by the mobile operators. To achieve this, the O-RAN ALLIANCE publishes new RAN specifications, releases open software for the RAN, and supports its members in integration and testing of their implementations.

About Strand Consult:

There are six focus areas:
– The mobile broadband market
– The MVNO market
– The market for Value Added Services
– Next Generation Prepaid Services
– The Smartphone market
– Digital strategy for the Telecom and Media industry.

We have spent many man years researching and publishing a series of comprehensive reports and workshops focused on these areas. Market players that have ambitions of being successful within these areas can either try to gain an overview themselves, find solutions and purchase external consultants to help them on their way, or alternatively use Strand Consult’s reports – with or without workshops -to acquire the knowledge they need to be successful in the future.

You can read more about some of our reports here:
Successful Strategies for the Mobile Broadband Market

References:

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210913005701/en/O-RAN-ALLIANCE-Remains-Fully-Committed-to-its-Mission-Towards-Open-and-Intelligent-RAN

https://strandconsult.dk/about-us/

Huawei CTO Says No to Open RAN and Virtualized RAN

Paul Scanlan, CTO of Huawei Carrier Business Group made clear what everyone already knew- that the Chinese tech giant doesn’t support Open RAN or Virtualized RAN (vRAN).  On a media call today, Scanlan noted that Open RAN has a lot of problems: It isn’t standardized, it can’t be easily integrated with existing network infrastructure, and it’s not ready for the most intense period of 5G deployments coming up with 5G SA core networks.

“It’s not that it’s not going to happen, and I believe it will in different guises but I’m not sure whether … from a commercial perspective, is it too late practically? The challenge is it’s not standardized. It’s an association. Because things are not standardized, no standards, you don’t get cooperation, you don’t get competition, you don’t get innovation to drive this,” Scanlan said, describing groups such as the O-RAN Alliance as “just a bunch of friends.”

Absent standardization, technologies like open RAN become fragmented and lack interoperability — two outcomes that most network operators are unwilling to accept, according to Scanlan.

The IEEE Techblog has noted from day one that neither the O-RAN Alliance or TIP Open RAN project are standards development organizations (SDOs). Worse, is they don’t even have liaisons with ITU-R, ETSI, or 3GPP which are (although 3GPP specs must be transposed by SDOs like ETSI or submitted to ITU-R WP 5D to become binding standards).

In June, Scanlan told Asia Times that Huawei has already built enterprise networks for 2,000 manufacturing companies and plans to build 16,000 next year. The Chinese tech giant has also built 5,300 private networks for mining companies, Scanlan stated.  Today, he said that the real cost for network operators is opex, rather than capex.

“The telecom operator’s problem is not capex, it’s actually opex,” he said, adding that opex eats up about 65% of the average cost per site for site rental, backhaul, and energy. RAN comprises about 12% of opex costs per site on average, he said.  The implication is that Open RAN opex will be higher than that of conventional RANs with purpose built network equipment from legacy base station vendors.

Another challenge for open RAN involves security and point of responsibility. That’s because of many more exposed interfaces between different vendor equipment.  In a typical open RAN deployment “you’ve got three or four vendors all providing components (modules) that are going to be patched together. Scanlan asked, “Who’s responsible for making sure that it’s going to be secure or it’s going to deliver” on performance and fall in line with guaranteed operating costs?”

“Everybody says from a cybersecurity perspective it’ll be more secure. Well, I don’t agree with that. I mean, who’s going to be responsible?”

Critics of O-RAN argue that the much-touted alternative to Huawei will be costly, cumbersome and ineffective. Henry Kressel wrote in Asia Times on December 29, 2020:

O-RAN proposes to open up only part of the proprietary wireless network, namely the part that goes from the antenna to the delivery of transportable data packets to the extended interconnection network that routs the  packets to their ultimate destination. These functions are currently performed using equipment and software proprietary to each equipment vendor.

This is a big ,multiyear project that requires the collaborative efforts of industry and governments. These technologies are complex and require extremely high levels of reliability – hence, extensive and costly testing.

The O-RAN Coalition has recommended that US federal sources put $1 billion into the project. But even if government money is forthcoming, it will be only the beginning of a costly development project. One estimate from a reliable industry expert states that at least five years might be needed before competitive products meeting the new standards could reach the market.

“So many people just throw out (?) virtualization or throw out (?) vRAN, or open RAN, and all the rest for different types of reasons,” he said. “If you’ve not been either developing the technology or you’re not at the operator’s point to understand the challenges and the pain points of each of them, then often a lot of the reasons why we want to do something is perhaps for political reasons [1.] and just haven’t been very well thought out.”

Note 1.  Many believe the motivation and impetus for Open RAN is to permit new base station vendors, particularly skilled in virtualization software, to enter the 4G/5G market.  Two particular politically inspired vendor targets are Huawei and ZTE who are not permitted to join either O-RAN or TIP projects.

Of course there are also performance issues with the commoditized chips that will be used for Open RAN.  Several years ago, Huawei explored the use of commoditized silicon in its 5G network equipment, but “the problem was that the jitter at the substrate level was too high. It would not achieve the targets that we wanted in terms of latency, so we had to develop the chip ourselves,” Scanlan said.

“For virtualized RAN, what do you want to do with virtualization, what’s the target objective? When we put things in a cloud the first thing we’re really trying to do is create flexibility and resource scaling. And because it’s software driven, we’re able to change those things and downstream everything can operate from it,” Scanlon explained.

“Within the next two or three years, there are no commercial opportunities for open RAN because of technological maturity,” Victor Zhang, Huawei’s vice president, told Light Reading when asked what Huawei was doing to support the concept. “There is still a long way to go with open RAN.”

One problem is that the general-purpose processors used in open RAN baseband equipment are less power-efficient than customized gear. Huawei summed this up in 2019. “There is a specific R&D team doing research on using white boxes with Intel CPUs [central processing units] in 4G basestations and the power consumption is ten times more,” said Peter Zhou, the chief marketing officer of Huawei’s wireless products line, at a London event. “5G is [even] more complicated and an Intel CPU gives you a problem with jitter. In terms of existing CPU technology, we haven’t seen the possibility of using that with 5G basestations.”

John Strand, the CEO of Strand Consult, thinks it inconceivable that Huawei is not privy to the O-RAN Alliance’s activities. Smaller Chinese vendors could even be representing Huawei, he has suggested. It seems highly likely that links between China Mobile and Huawei are much stronger than connections between a European operator and its main supplier.

References:

https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/huawei-cto-disses-virtualized-open-ran/2021/09/

O-RAN an also-ran to Huawei 5G

Dell’Oro Group increases Open RAN radio and baseband revenue forecast

https://www.lightreading.com/open-ran/huawei-gives-another-thumbs-down-to-open-ran—or-so-it-says/d/d-id/768660

Dell’Oro Group increases Open RAN radio and baseband revenue forecast

Dell’Oro Group has revised their Open RAN radio and baseband forecast.  Total cumulative Open RAN revenues are now projected to approach $10B to $15B between 2020 and 2025.

“The momentum with both commercial deployments and the broader Open RAN movement continued to improve during 1H21, bolstering the thesis that Open RAN is here to stay,” said Stefan Pongratz, Vice President and analyst with the Dell’Oro Group. “We are adjusting the forecast upward to reflect the higher baseline and the improved pipeline,” continued Pongratz.

Additional highlights from the Dell’Oro Group Open RAN Advanced Research Report:

  • Open RAN revenues are expected to account for more than 10 percent of the overall RAN market by 2025, reflecting healthy traction in multiple regions with both basic and advanced radios.
  • Open RAN Massive MIMO projections have been revised upward to reflect the improved competitive landscape and the improved market sentiment with upper mid-band Open RAN.
  • The shift towards Virtualized RAN (V-RAN) is progressing at a slightly slower pace than Open RAN. Still, total V-RAN projections remain relatively unchanged, with V-RAN expected to approach $2 B to $3 B by 2025.

Separately, Stefan wrote:

The long-term open RAN vision is built on three key pillars including open interfaces, virtualized technologies and vendor neutral multi-vendor deployments. In addition to leading the industry toward open and interoperable interfaces, the long-term roadmap maximizes the use of COTS hardware and minimizes the reliance on proprietary hardware (O-RAN Alliance).

Taking into consideration that one of the primary objectives is to capture the overall movement toward open RAN and the fact that it will take some time to realize the broader vision, it is somewhat implied that there will be room for interpretation when it comes to capturing this movement and tracking the open RAN market.

And within each of these pillars, there will be various degrees of compliance. Multi-vendor deployments are often associated with mixing and matching baseband and radio suppliers. But when Mavenir introduced the term “True Open RAN,” it meant true mixing and matching across the board – they want to work with anyone with any component. If someone gives them a radio they should be able to integrate it with their software. And vice versa, if another supplier provides the software “True Open RAN” would enable them to make it work with their Massive MIMO radios.

Not surprisingly, there is room for interpretation with the other building blocks as well. Open RAN compatible radios are now proliferating across the supplier landscape. But it is not always clear after browsing the data sheets what this entails from an open RAN specifications, customization and coverage perspective. With five interfaces (A1, E2, O1, O2, Open FH), multiple functions (SMO, Non-Real time RIC, Near-Real-Time RIC), and a confluence of profiles, there is not an abundance of confidence that the open RAN maturity would be consistent across the board.

About the Report

The Dell’Oro Group Open RAN Advanced Research Report offers an overview of the Open RAN and Virtualized RAN potential with a 5-year forecast for various Open RAN segments including macro and small cell, regions, and baseband/radio. The report also includes projections for virtualized RAN along with a discussion about the vision, the ecosystem, the market potential, and the risks.

To purchase this report, please contact dgsales@delloro.com

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Rebuttal:  Open RAN Forecasts Way too High!

While not a market analyst cranking out forecasts, this author believes the Open RAN market will be a huge disappointment and revenues will be much lower than Dell’Oro and other market research firms forecast.

As Light Reading has correctly said, Open RAN is trading one type of vendor lock-in for another. 

Trading one version of vendor ‘lock-in’ for another?  Image Credit: Light Reading

That’s because the O-RAN Alliance specs have not led to vendor neutral interoperability, but rather partnerships amongst vendors to provide a complete Open RAN solution.

O-RAN Alliance Threatened:

The O-RAN Alliance is in a crisis because of U.S. sanctions against Chinese vendors in the group has troubled Nokia and Ericsson.  In particular, the recent addition to the American “entity list” of three Chinese members of the Alliance. Kindroid, a semiconductor company, Phytium, a supercomputing company, and Inspur, a compute server vendor, have been accused of working with the Chinese military, and have joined 260 other Chinese companies, including, Huawei, on the entity list.

A few days after Nokia decided to suspend its technical activity with the O-RAN Alliance, in fear of American punishment over its engagement at the forum with companies recently put on the American “entity list,” Ericsson expressed similar concerns.

It should not be a surprise that, given O-RAN Alliance’s legacy (born out of a merger of the American-led xRAN Forum and the Chinese-led C-RAN Alliance), there are a strong Chinese contingency. According to Strand Consult, by the end of 2020, 44 of the 200 odd Alliance members are companies from China.  Also of concern is this post by Mr. Strand, What NTIA won’t tell the FCC about OpenRAN.

References:

Open RAN Forecast Revised Upward, According to Dell’Oro Group

https://www.lightreading.com/open-ran/say-hello-to-open-ran-ecosystem-or-vendor-lock-in-20/d/d-id/767225

https://www.fiercewireless.com/tech/not-all-open-ran-same-industry-voices-pongratz

https://techblog.comsoc.org/?q=Open%20RAN#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=Open%20RAN&gsc.page=1

https://techblog.comsoc.org/?q=Open%20RAN#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=Open%20RAN&gsc.page=2

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2020/12/04/omdia-and-delloro-group-increase-open-ran-forecasts/

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

Juniper Networks today announced plans to integrate its radio access network (RAN) intelligent controller (RIC) with Intel’s FlexRAN platform for Open RAN development.

This joint initiative between two companies is part of Juniper’s continuing efforts to bring openness and innovation to a traditionally closed-off part of the network, providing a faster route-to-market for service providers and enterprises to deliver 5G, edge computing and AI.  Juniper views open RAN as an opportunistic endeavor and claims it’s currently testing the RIC integration in labs and trials with some tier-one operators. Juniper’s RIC takes direction from the O-RAN Alliance and adheres to open interfaces and APIs, but the specialized features it adds on top are proprietary.

Juniper has made major investments to lead the shift to Open RAN, beginning with the exclusive IP licensing agreement with Netsia (a subsidiary of Turk Telekom Group), and continuing with significant involvement in the O-RAN Alliance. Juniper is heavily engaged in expanding integrations with key partners and is part of the innovation team building joint customer solutions in Intel’s 5G Lab.

Spending on Radio Access Networks (RAN) is a significant amount of service providers’ CapEx, primarily due to limited vendor choice and closed architectures which lead to lock-in. Juniper recognizes that the RAN is a domain that demands openness and best-of-breed innovation to ensure the best experience for network operators and their customers, and is determined to lead the industry toward that vision.

Juniper’s collaboration with Intel includes the following:

  • Juniper RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) and Intel FlexRAN platform are pre-integrated and pre-validated to enhance usability of a full ORAN-compliant Intelligent RAN system
  • Collaborative R&D work with Intel Labs for RIC platform-specific apps to improve customer experience, maximize ROI and drive rapid ORAN ecosystem innovation
  • Joint customer testbeds with Intel to validate performance-improving implementation and speed of time-to-market

Juniper is an active member of the O-RAN Alliance, contributing to six working groups and serving as chair and co-chair of the slicing and use-case task groups, respectively. Juniper is also an editor of RIC specifications within the alliance.

Quotes:

“Juniper has always been committed to open infrastructures, which is why we are excited to support the work that Intel has undertaken with their FlexRAN ecosystem. By collaborating with Intel, we are able to deliver cloud-native routing, automation, intelligence and assurance solutions and services that are optimized for our customers’ needs, speeding time-to-market and enabling them to monetize faster.”
– Constantine Polychronopoulos, VP of 5G and Telco Cloud at Juniper Networks

“RIC is like the brain for open RAN, and we also call it essentially the operating system of the RAN,” said Jai Thattil, director of strategic technology marketing at Juniper Networks.  Juniper intends to differentiate its RIC from others by pre-integrating and validating the technology so operators can adopt it as part of a more comprehensive offering combined with other services. “Juniper is kind of in a unique position, compared to a lot of other vendors” because of its experience in 5G transport, network cores, service management and orchestration, according to Thattil.

“The virtualization of the RAN continues to gain momentum across the industry as operators take advantage of cloud economics and the delivery of new services. This collaboration with Juniper and the validation of FlexRAN and RIC solutions will assist service providers to overcome integration challenges and accelerate time-to-market for future deployments.”
– Caroline Chan, VP Intel Corporation, GM of Network Business Incubator Division

O-RAN Alliance Threatened:

The O-RAN Alliance is in a crisis because of U.S. sanctions against Chinese vendors in the group has troubled Nokia and Ericsson.  In particular, the recent addition to the American “entity list” of three Chinese members of the Alliance. Kindroid, a semiconductor company, Phytium, a supercomputing company, and Inspur, a compute server vendor, have been accused of working with the Chinese military, and have joined 260 other Chinese companies, including, Huawei, on the entity list.

A few days after Nokia decided to suspend its technical activity with the O-RAN Alliance, in fear of American punishment over its engagement at the forum with companies recently put on the American “entity list,” Ericsson expressed similar concerns.

It should not be a surprise that, given O-RAN Alliance’s legacy (born out of a merger of the American-led xRAN Forum and the Chinese-led C-RAN Alliance), there are a strong Chinese contingency. According to Strand Consult, by the end of 2020, 44 of the 200 odd Alliance members are companies from China.  Also of concern is this post by Mr. Strand, What NTIA won’t tell the FCC about OpenRAN.

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References:

https://investor.juniper.net/investor-relations/press-releases/press-release-details/2021/Juniper-Networks-Deepens-Commitment-to-Open-RAN-Innovation-Integrates-Intel-Technology/default.aspx

https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/juniper-nudges-open-ran-ric-into-intel-flexran/2021/09/

Additional Resources:

Media Relations:
Lori Langona
Juniper Networks
+1 (831) 818-8758
llangona@juniper.net