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Open RAN: 2020 and Beyond


The ecosystem of vendors is already acknowledging this shift and many vendors are fast aligning product portfolios to provide Open RAN solutions.
automated vehicles. Operators across the world are preparing their network infrastructure and operations personnel to deliver high-end services that can be monetized by leveraging the increased automation and intelligence built into the network using O-RAN based architecture. 

Open RAN policy
development and impact

As the specifications are established and Open RAN is enjoying broader adoption, policy makers are also taking note of the developments in the Open RAN space. The Open RAN Policy Coalition, formed in May 2020, aims to promote policies that advance the adoption of open and interoperable solutions in the RAN and that create a marketplace conducive to Open RAN solutions. The Open RAN Policy Coalition is comprised of a broad coalition of operators and vendors including Radisys that are working with policymakers to ensure interoperability and expand the supply chain for 5G. With many national governments expected to promote new players in the RAN market and become self-dependent in their telecom network needs, the global environment has become very conducive for Open RAN players.

Industry adoption and deployments

The adoption of the O-RAN Alliance specifications has been very encouraging in the space of fronthaul and radios. Many vendors have released O-RAN compliant radio (O-RU) products and have been showcasing these products in trade shows and interop events. The second O-RAN Plugfest event scheduled in September 2020 is one such industry event during which vendors can demonstrate compliance and interoperability to the O-RAN standards. Radisys served as the systems integrator for the 5G Standalone track for the first O-RAN Plugfest held in December 2019. In the meantime, a couple of major RAN vendors have made public announcements about their O-RAN compliant and virtualized RAN products.

Operators have moved fast to adopt Open RAN solutions this year. There are many active trials and early deployments of Open RAN in 4G networks, and operators across the globe have floated RFPs to build their 5G networks based on Open RAN principles. This no doubt has led to a frenzy in the RAN market about Open RAN solutions. DISH is building a nationwide greenfield 5G network adopting the O-RAN architecture. Vodafone has started deploying Open RAN LTE solutions in different markets and recently announced the first live Open RAN 4G site in the UK.

What lies ahead

Open RAN has gained significant momentum with operators across the globe and this trend will continue unabated. The ecosystem of vendors is already acknowledging this shift and many vendors are fast aligning product portfolios to provide Open RAN solutions. With favorable winds of policymaking and emerging ecosystem, 5G network rollout across many countries will have a distinct Open RAN flavor. Standards organizations have aligned well to provide all the required standards. With initiatives like the TIP (Telecom Infra Project) Forum’s RAN Intelligence & Automation (RIA), the focus on AI/ML driven networks is definitely a space to watch for the next several years.

Open RAN is here to stay and will continue to grow and mature as operators, vendors and policymakers continue efforts to establish open interfaces and standards that ensure multi-vendor interoperability for end-to-end disaggregated radio access networks. The momentum gained this year is just the beginning.



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