Mavenir and Xilinx Collaborate on Massive MIMO for Open RAN

Mavenir, an upstart end-to-end cloud-native network software provider and Xilinx, a leader in adaptive computing, announced today the companies are collaborating to bring to market a unified 4G/5G O-RAN massive MIMO (mMIMO) portfolio to enable Open RAN deployments. The first mMIMO 64TRX joint solution is expected to be available in Q4 2021.

Working together, the two companies have successfully completed end-to-end integration of a first-generation mMIMO solution using Open RAN principles. Held at the Mavenir Lab in Bangalore, India, the integration covered multiple deployment scenarios and was evaluated by six CSPs, all leading global operators. Mavenir delivered the Virtualized RAN (vRAN) support for mMIMO, including Core Network, CU and DU, with Xilinx providing the Category B O-RAN Radio Unit.

“This integration demonstrates an efficient Open RAN massive MIMO solution to achieve diversification of the telecommunications supply chain,” says Pardeep Kohli, President and CEO, Mavenir. “This is an important milestone in the delivery of open and interoperable interfaces enabling the deployment of mMIMO in high density, high mobile traffic metro areas.”

“We were early proponents of Open RAN technology along with Mavenir and actively led in standards development in the industry through many field trials around the world,” said Liam Madden, executive vice president and general manager, Wired and Wireless Group at Xilinx. “With the investment we have done on our market-leading wireless radio technology and massive MIMO R&D, we are excited to collaborate with Mavenir to bring our collective technology and radio system expertise together that will accelerate the deployment of market leading 5G O-RAN massive MIMO radio solutions.”

With history of leadership success in various 4G and 5G network deployments worldwide, the companies are jointly developing the next generation of mMIMO products which will bring the world’s first O-RAN compliant 64TRX mMIMO products that support up to 400MHz instantaneous bandwidth in a compact form factor. Mavenir’s vRAN software supports Multi-User MIMO with up to 16 layers, advanced receiver algorithms, full digital beamforming – all running on Mavenir’s open and flexible cloud-native platform, as well as on other cloud platforms.

These products will leverage Xilinx’s technology platform including RFSoC DFE and Versal AI for advanced beamforming, delivering a fully integrated hardware and software O-RAN compliant mMIMO solution.

The wireless industry’s focus is squarely set on massive MIMO as mid-band spectrum 5G deployments continue, particularly following the record high mid-band 5G spectrum auction that concluded in the U.S. earlier this year. Massive MIMO is especially important in mid-band 5G networks because it allows operators to densify network coverage, increase capacity and coverage, and reduce the need for incremental outdoor sites, all of which translates to less labor and lower costs.

Mavenir and Xilinx have not yet disclosed the specifications for the equipment, but claim the equipment at the top of the portfolio will feature a 64-antenna array for transmitting and receiving signals and support up to 400 megahertz of bandwidth. The initial supply of radios will support C-band spectrum in the U.S., and the companies plan to later support mid-band spectrum for 5G deployments in Europe, the Middle East, and India.

The vendors are coming together to prove that “open RAN massive MIMO radios are a reality, and we will deliver that to the market. Our first open RAN massive MIMO radio will be labs ready by early Q4 and field-trial ready by the end of the year,” said Gilles Garcia, a senior director at Xilinx.

“5G Open RAN has significant momentum in the market with ABI Research forecasting network vendor spending to reach $10 billion by 2026-27 and then surpass traditional RAN at $30 billion by 2030,” said Dimitris Mavrakis, senior research director of 5G at ABI Research. “As Mavenir and Xilinx continue to work together to accelerate O-RAN-based massive MIMO adoption, their solutions will be well-timed to serve this high-growth market with the higher spectral efficiency, performance, power efficiency and cost needed as 5G demand intensifies.”

Mavenir and Altiostar Collaborate to Deliver OpenRAN Radios for U.S. Market; Parallel Wireless CEO Opinion

Mavenir and Altiostar are among a number of networking software start-ups focusing on delivering Open RAN solutions to wireless network operators .  Both companies specialize in cloud telecoms software – so one would expect them to be competing with each other. However, they have decided to collaborate to deliver a wide portfolio of radios based on OpenRAN principles for the US market.

Both companies will be supporting the development of radios through third party OEM’s that will be based on O-RAN open interfaces and will address the frequencies of Tier-1 and Regional/Rural operators in the US.

Analysis:

The two companies will NOT design or build the radios themselves, which is not within the scope of  networking software startups.  In essence, they will be using O-RAN compliant radios built by (mostly Asian) OEMs/ODMs- many of which are members of the O-RAN Alliance.  One has to wonder, however, why such an agreement is necessary?  Why aren’t O-RAN compliant interface specifications complete and well enough accepted to ensure multi-vendor interoperability?

The joint press release answers those questions:

“Very few companies are participating in the current (OpenRAN) supply chain and mostly offering proprietary radio solutions lacking open interfaces that are not interoperable with other network elements. In addition, the requirement to procure products from trusted vendors in the US market is also causing operators to reconsider supplier options. OpenRAN radios provide new possibilities for operators to implement a secure, cost effective and best of breed solution as networks move to 5G and beyond.”

Parallel Wireless CEO Steve Papa commented to Light Reading that Open RAN (aka O-RAN) “will only be as good as the radios that are available,” he said.  “If Ericsson and Nokia are struggling to be competitive with Huawei’s radios, we should not expect O-RAN to magically solve this problem by using the same semiconductors available to Ericsson and Nokia at present.”

Papa blames a lack of U.S. semiconductor innovation for Huawei’s lead in radios. He has repeatedly urged U.S. authorities to pump an extra $1 billion into radio semiconductor research. He has even suggested using the $1 billion the US recently fined Ericsson for corruption, a remark that is unlikely to win him many friends in Stockholm.

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As part of this effort, it is also planned to have these radios available to support the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act that was signed into law on March 12, 2020.

Public Law No: 116-124 (03/12/2020)

Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019

This bill establishes (1) a mechanism to prevent communications equipment or services that pose a national security risk from entering U.S. networks, and (2) a program to remove any such equipment or services currently used in U.S. networks.

Specifically, the bill prohibits the use of certain federal funds to obtain communications equipment or services from a company that poses a national security risk to U.S. communications networks. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must publish and maintain a list of such equipment or services.

Each communications provider must submit an annual report to the FCC regarding whether it has purchased, rented, leased, or otherwise obtained any prohibited equipment and, if so, provide a detailed justification for such action.

The bill also establishes the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program to supply small communications providers (i.e., providers with 2 million or fewer customers) with funds to offset the cost of removing prohibited equipment or services from their networks and replacing it with more secure communications equipment or services.

In addition, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration must establish a program to share information regarding supply chain security risks with trusted communications providers and suppliers.

For a short video describing O-RAN’s progress, see www.o-ran.org/videos

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“Altiostar has been at the forefront of the OpenRAN movement that is now being embraced by mobile operators around the world,” said Ashraf Dahod, CEO of Altiostar Networks. “Our collaboration with Mavenir on OpenRAN radios will ensure operators in the US have a truly open end-to-end infrastructure that will be cost effective and allows them to grow their business.”

“We are collaborating with Altiostar to realize the full promise of OpenRAN. Our Radios will have O-RAN compliant interfaces and will interwork with other vendors’ solutions,” said Pardeep Kohli, President and CEO of Mavenir. “I encourage other companies in the OpenRAN Policy Coalition to open their radios and ensure a broad supply of radios with open interfaces that are interoperable with third party equipment.”

Mavenir and Altiostar have committed to work together to develop a full set of FCC banded radios to be available starting June 2020, with a complete set of radios in the market by Q1 2021. The parties are also committed to making these OpenRAN radios available to be sourced by all OpenRAN vendors and system integrators, widening the OpenRAN supply chain in the US market to meet the frequency band needs of Tier-1 and Regional/Rural operators.

Mavenir and Altiostar have been pioneers of OpenRAN, including founding board members of the Open RAN Policy Coalition, as well as part of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and O-RAN Alliance.

Members of the Open RAN Policy Coalition include Airspan, Altiostar, AT&T, AWS, Cisco, CommScope, Dell, DISH Network, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Juniper Networks, Mavenir, Microsoft, NEC Corporation, NewEdge Signal Solutions, Nokia, NTT, Oracle, Parallel Wireless, Qualcomm, Rakuten Mobile, Samsung Electronics America, Telefónica, US Cellular, US Ignite, Verizon, VMWare, Vodafone, World Wide Technology, and XCOM-Labs.

Other software start-ups that are pursuing Open RAN include Parallel Wireless,  Robin io., WiSig Networks, and several others.  This author has talked with principals of Robin.io and WiSig who have been invited to write guest articles about their work for the IEEE Techblog.

Below is the O-RAN reference architecture model:

O-RAN Architecture 190122.png

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About Mavenir:
Mavenir is the industry’s only end-to-end, cloud-native Network Software and Solutions/Systems Integration Provider for 4G and 5G, focused on accelerating software network transformation for Communications Service Providers (CSPs). Mavenir offers a comprehensive end-to-end product portfolio across every layer of the network infrastructure stack. From 5G application/service layers to packet core and RAN, Mavenir leads the way in evolved, cloud-native networking solutions enabling innovative and secure experiences for end users. Leveraging innovations in IMS (VoLTE, VoWiFi, Advanced Messaging (RCS)), Private Networks as well as vEPC, 5G Core and OpenRAN vRAN, Mavenir accelerates network transformation for more than 250+ CSP customers in over 140 countries, which serve over 50% of the world’s subscribers.

Mavenir embraces disruptive, innovative technology architectures and business models that drive service agility, flexibility, and velocity. With solutions that propel NFV evolution to achieve web-scale economics, Mavenir offers solutions to help CSPs with cost reduction, revenue generation, and revenue protection. www.mavenir.com

About Altiostar:
Altiostar provides a 4G and 5G open virtualized RAN software solution that supports open interfaces and disaggregates the hardware from the software to build a multi-vendor web-scale network. This solution supports indoor and outdoor massive MIMO, as well as macro and small cells, enabling interference management, carrier aggregation and dual connectivity to improve the efficiency of the network. It also enhances the Quality of Experience for the end user, while providing broadband speeds. Operators can add intelligence, quickly adapt the software for different services and automate operations to rapidly scale the network and reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The Altiostar open vRAN solution has been deployed globally, including the world’s first cloud native-mobile network with Rakuten in Japanwww.altiostar.com

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References:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/altiostar-and-mavenir-to-deliver-openran-radios-for-us-market-301074220.html

https://www.o-ran.org/

Ultra Oxymoron: GSMA teams up with O-RAN Alliance without liaison with 3GPP or ITU

https://techblog.comsoc.org/category/o-ran/#:~:text=Open%20RAN%20Policy%20Coalition%20founding,Qualcomm%2C%20Rakuten%20Mobile%2C%20Samsung%20Electronics

NEC and Mavenir collaborate to deliver 5G Open vRAN platform

NEC Corp. and Mavenir entered a collaboration agreement to deliver a 5G Open virtualized RAN (vRAN) platform to the Japanese enterprise market. This move will open up Local/Private 5G Network opportunities for enterprises, regional authorities and other organizations, according to the companies.

Under this collaboration, NEC and Mavenir said they will jointly work on 5G Open vRAN and Local 5G business developments and create a simple and cost-efficient ecosystem in the market. The collaboration will bring together NEC’s expertise in IT, network and system integration and Mavenir’s cloud-native network technology.

Editor’s Note:

Moving to a virtual RAN (vRAN) may offer operators important benefits, including a reduced capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) over time. Additionally, RAN transformation can be boosted by network functions virtualization (NFV) technology, which changes the typical network architecture from hardware-based to software-defined infrastructure and decouples the baseband functions from the underlying hardware. In turn, the architecture is more flexible, agile, and easier to maintain, allowing operators to launch new services to market faster than ever before.

Cisco created and announced Open vRAN at Mobile World Congress 2018. Conversations with key network operator customers, as well as our partners, made it apparent that something needed to change and they thought we could help. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind ride – working with customers to better define this future and the key elements, building solutions with our partnersinnovating in the market to explore new service designs, and contributing to the process of defining industry specifications.

On that last topic, sometimes there is a little confusion between Open vRAN and O-RAN due to the similar names and similar principles. The naming similarity was coincidental, but not surprising, given both are fairly descriptive of the opportunity. O-RAN (Open RAN Alliance) describes themselves well on their website: The O-RAN Alliance was founded by operators to clearly define requirements and help build a supply chain eco-system to realize its objectives.”  They have extensive details available on their website and in their whitepaper.

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Mavenir delivers an Open vRAN platform that provides strategic differentiation by enabling multi-source Remote Radio Units (RRUs) to interwork with the virtualized, containerized, Cloud Base Band software over Ethernet Fronthaul (FH), using the O-RAN open interface, overcoming the traditional constraints of the proprietary walled garden specifications used by the other traditional equipment vendors.

“We are excited to collaborate with NEC, as we move together toward open, virtualized networks,” said Pardeep Kohli, Mavenir’s President and CEO. “Mavenir’s vRAN and NEC’s radio naturally come together to quickly and easily bring new and innovative solutions to the Japanese Enterprise Market.”

NEC actively promotes an open, virtualized infrastructure model in support of the 5G era, using IT, orchestration and network expertise. Moreover, the NEC ecosystem contributes to vRAN via inter-operability testing between multiple vendors’ equipment that is compliant with O-RAN fronthaul specifications.

“The combination of advanced assets and expertise from Mavenir and NEC will enable us to offer end-to-end one-stop 5G Open vRAN and Local/Private 5G solutions, including an advanced 5G network solution for the ecosystem, and vertical solutions that meet the needs of a great variety of Enterprise customers.” said Nozomu Watanabe, senior vice president at NEC.

This joint collaboration will continue to provide value-added products for customers worldwide.  An overview of this collaboration will be introduced during MWC Barcelona 2020  (assuming the event is not cancelled as is rumored now) at the NEC booth, Hall 3, 3M30.

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About Mavenir:

Mavenir is the industry’s only end-to-end, cloud-native Network Software Provider focused on accelerating software network transformation and redefining network economics for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) by offering a comprehensive end-to-end product portfolio across every layer of the network infrastructure stack. From 5G application/service layers to packet core and RAN, Mavenir leads the way in evolved, cloud-native networking solutions enabling innovative and secure experiences for end users. Leveraging industry-leading firsts in VoLTEVoWiFiAdvanced Messaging (RCS)Multi-IDvEPC and OpenRAN vRAN, Mavenir accelerates network transformation for more than 250+ CSP customers in over 140 countries, which serve over 50% of the world’s subscribers.

We embrace disruptive, innovative technology architectures and business models that drive service agility, flexibility, and velocity. With solutions that propel NFV evolution to achieve webscale economics, Mavenir offers solutions to help CSPs with revenue generationcost reduction, and revenue protection. Learn more at www.mavenir.com

 

References:

https://mavenir.com/press-releases/nec-and-mavenir-deliver-5g-open-vran-solution/

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/nec-mavenir-collaborate-to-deliver-5g-open-vran-platform–1326379

https://blogs.cisco.com/sp/the-open-vran-wave-is-building