Driving Open RAN Innovation: The Telecom Infra Project’s Role and Initiatives

Discover how the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is leading the Open RAN revolution by accelerating the commercial adoption of secure, high-performance network solutions. Tackling challenges in Open RAN adoption and catalyzing industry effort, TIP's project groups, badging processes, and marketplace initiatives are reshaping the future of Open RAN and 5G technology.

 

Introduction

Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is an industry organization that accelerates the commercial adoption of secure, high-performance & low-cost open & disaggregated solutions for all deployment use cases through test and system validation. Our Product project groups are divided into three strategic network areas that collectively comprise an end-to-end network: Access, Transport, Core, and Services.

Open RAN as a technology domain remains the most complex, and although we will hear of some great examples of commercial trials from our community, there is still some more work to do to truly make multi-vendor, interoperable, integratable Open RAN accessible to not only the large CSPs in the world, but also the tier 2 and 3 players in the market. We need to work towards building trust and confidence in the vendor configurations but also lower the barriers for procurement and deployment.

TIP’s Role in Open RAN

TIP is there to catalyze and support the industry effort and help to resolve some of the challenges, such as by proving out various configurations for Open RAN fronthaul sub-systems or Open RAN Cloud, the role of SIs, reskill/upskill transformation within organizations, lowering the cost of hardware. And let’s not forget there’s more necessary innovation required in Open RAN, such as further disaggregation at the chipset and radio level, network performance & energy management through RIC and xAPPs/rAPPs, and orchestration and automation models in Open RAN.

TIP has done critical foundational work to help build purchaser confidence and address supply chain efficiency issues vis-a-vis its:

  • Open RAN Project Group and its sub-groups
  • It’s badging of products and solutions
  • Its marketplace processes, called “TIP Exchange”

TIP’s Open RAN Project Group and sub-groups – in cooperation with leading operators, vendors, systems integrators, and other stakeholders throughout the world – seek to harmonize requirements for Open RAN solutions that comprise radio units (“RUs”), distributed units (“DUs”), and centralized units (“CUs”), as well as the RAN Intelligent Controller (“RIC”) platforms and applications, and many other components of Open RAN solutions. Like other TIP project groups, the Open RAN Project Group emphasizes creating joint roadmaps that are built on market demand, then building and testing products at scale. TIP’s process encompasses technical roadmaps, solution blueprints that correspond to deployment scenarios as well as testing activities, and a range of resulting deliverables that document the results of the process.

Four major stages of Flow

Creation of technical roadmaps, where operator requirements, commercial priorities, and use cases are identified and translated to definitions with a feedback loop with participating vendors, ensuring that all inputs from the industry are accounted for; Testing and validation based on blueprints and test plans that ensure that components integrated as a solution can operate as a complete Open RAN system and be deployed in a live network; and Publishing the blueprints, the test plans as well as the badged products and solutions on the TIP marketplace, TIP Exchange. TIP Exchange enables participating operators to identify suitable solutions and vendors to promote their products and services based on documented results from participating in the process. Lifecycle management of the badged products and solutions.

All four stages are supported by TIP Academy, which provides industry-leading training and education programs for Open RAN. The SCOPE process gets its initial technical documentation from the TIP OpenRAN Project Group, which makes system Blueprints and Test Plans needed for the process. The participating operators have approved these deliverables to represent the targeted deployment scenarios. Actual Open RAN configurations chosen by operators will be integrated and tested as a system in a TIP-accredited System Certification Laboratory. The testing will be based on approved Test Plans, and results will be documented and provided as input for the formal TIP System Certification process. Successful Certification will enable the products and the system as a whole to be allocated TIP Badges according to the SCOPE criteria.

In 2020, TIP carried out a successful pilot of a System Release Certification process for Open RAN, proving that new releases of Open RAN would be tested 60% faster with a centrally coordinated Certification process. The learnings from this successful pilot have led to the development of the SCOPE T&E framework.

 

Global Coordination and Cost-Effectiveness

The global coordination by TIP ensures cost-effectiveness and total market impact. TIP prioritizes Open RAN configurations corresponding to deployment scenarios aligned between a large cross-section of global operators, thus saving duplication cost and time for the vendors, system integrators, and operators involved.

SCOPE will increase operators’ confidence in deploying Open RAN technology into live networks today. Operators want carrier-grade solutions and lower integration and testing overhead. For vendors and operators – SCOPE, alongside the TIP community-driven Project Groups and TIP Exchange, presents a way to meet both these challenges and increase the availability of Open RAN solutions.

FYUZ 2023: Showcasing the Momentum of Open and Disaggregated Solutions

Fyuz, TIP’s flagship conference in October 2023, continues to be the landmark event for the industry showcase & debate on Open & Disaggregated Network Solutions. We are looking forward to coming back to Madrid – at the same venue, with an improved and knockout format and a transition to a new theme of showcasing the momentum across open and disaggregated solutions in the industry. We are looking forward to hearing more from the pioneers across the industry on what has been commercially deployed, but more importantly, what still needs to be done to scale Open RAN, OpenWiFi, Open Transport and where the pockets of new innovation are opening up.

Over the past year, the industry has also seen a broader set of Governments pushing forward on their supplier diversification strategies and opportunities to develop global approaches toward scaling a diverse telecom supplier ecosystem. The TIP Open RAN community is growing stronger and driving an industry-relevant roadmap of innovation and solutions. FYUZ will continue to have Open RAN as an agenda item (along with other flagship programs such as OOPT and OpenWiFi, as well as those that some might say sit on the sidelines, including NTCS, TelCo Cloud, and Private Networks). Visit fyuz.events to learn more about it and register.

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