The Facebook-founded Telecom Infra Project has offered an update on all the telecoms stuff it’s up to.
At the top of the list is its OpenRAN project, which promises to disrupt the industry by decoupling many of the component parts of radio access network gear, thus opening it up to greater competition. We’re told the rate of ORAN trials has significantly increased over the past year. On top of that another, related project focusing on disaggregated cell site gateways seems to be motoring along nicely too.
Rather ironically research into things like ORAN has become somewhat disaggregated itself, with other groups like the ORAN Alliance apparently working in parallel to the core TIP efforts, despite sharing most of the same members. Anyway, sensibly they have announced a ‘liaison agreement’, through which they promise not to hide stuff from each other in the area of interoperable 5G RAN solutions.
On top of that the GSMA has promised to muck in too and the OpenStack Foundation and the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance will explore collaboration areas on the newly formed Open Core Network Project Group. All this stuff is covered in a fairly comprehensive blog post by Attilio Zani, Executive Director at TIP, which was clearly designed to coincide with MWC (RIP). The post includes the diagram below, which seeks to illustrate the scope of projects it’s involved in.
One of the major contributors to the ORAN effort, Mavenir, even had its own announcement designed to coincide with the TIP update. Mavenir has collaborated with Facebook Connectivity, MTI, Deutsche Telekom and others, to launch the Evenstar Remote Radio Head family. It’s intended to accelerate the adoption of ORAN tech by building general-purpose RAN reference designs for 4G and 5G networks.
“The Evenstar program is supported by a group of like-minded organizations that share a common goal of accelerating the adoption of Open RAN,” said Mikael Rylander, SVP and GM of the Radio Access Business Unit at Mavenir. “Through this collaboration, we hope to release RRHs with the latest features and competitive pricing. The Evenstar RRH and the program itself will help level the competition in both technical specification and price.”
“To benefit from next generation, open, disaggregated RAN solutions that can be implemented in various deployment scenarios for 4G and 5G networks, it is important for Deutsche Telekom to work with innovative partners driving ORAN compliant technology,” said Abdurazak Mudesir, SVP Technology Architecture & Innovation at Deutsche Telekom. “This collaboration between the ORAN and TIP communities is an important contribution to grow that ecosystem and accelerate the commercialization of Open RAN technology.”
While the development of novel technologies is usually a fragmented process in its initial stages, TIP and ORAN have been around for a few years now, so this increased collaboration seems overdue. While we still seem a long way from ORAN taking the place of any of the big RAN vendors in commercial networks, the rapid progress it seems to be making will surely be a cause of nervousness.