The open future of radio access networks
There are several technology trends being leveraged by 5G
Open and virtualised RAN refers to a disaggregated approach of deploying virtualised mobile networks by using open and interoperable protocols and interfaces, implemented over a common commercial-off-the-shelf hardware (COTS) in a multi-vendor software environment, allowing an increased flexibility over traditional RAN architectures, aiming to provide OPEX and CAPEX savings while fostering innovation.
Nowadays, mobile networks are evolving towards a more intelligent, virtualized, open and totally interoperable architecture.
These cannot only create new business opportunities but also enable telcos to reduce costs while increasing innovation, network flexibility and operational efficiency. The concept of Open RAN is one of these key trends and it is the focus of this paper.
The open future of RAN
There is wide recognition of Open RAN’s potential to disrupt the existing marketplace, through standardized software centric approach based on commoditized hardware and open standard interfaces that ensure deployment of multi-vendor RU and CU/DU ecosystem.
At the same time, the current maturity of the technology presents challenges that need to be addressed:
- Performance and feature parity;
- Skills and capabilities;
- Interoperability challenges;
- Legacy technologies coexistence.
How far is Open RAN from being mainstream?
According to Dell’Oro Group, Open RAN revenues are expected to account for around 15 percent of the overall RAN market by 2026, reflecting healthy traction in multiple regions.
Open RAN based solutions are step-by-step entering the maturity phase, in which they can be seen as a mainstream solution.
By the end of 2021 Telecom Infra Project (TIP) reported that has helped facilitate 35 trials and deployments of open radio access network (RAN) technology among 29 different operators across 20 countries. We expect this to accelerate over 2022 and 2023.
Read the full paper and explore powerful insights and critical factors to build a strong Open RAN.