How to ensure a successful Open RAN deployment – Amdocs
Plus: An Interview with Karpura to understand what is the involvement of Amdocs with O-RAN Alliance and TIP and the related benefits.
Open RAN initiatives have come a long way. Since the inception of the xRAN Forum in 2016, and its subsequent merger with the C-RAN alliance two years later to form the O-RAN alliance, the industry and ecosystem have made significant progress in defining open RAN architecture and deploying initial use cases.
Starting with the adoption of the O-RAN alliance’s open fronthaul specifications (a.k.a. 7-2x split), the industry subsequently evolved its focus to making open Centralized Unit (CU), open Distributed Unit (DU), and RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) a reality.
Today, many operators – both new and incumbent – based on their understanding that adopting a fully O-RAN compliant architecture would enable them to deploy new and innovative use cases cost-effectively, are in the process of rolling out open RAN technology and products.
The Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP), adopting the O-RAN alliance’s specifications, has also been driving open RAN initiatives with a focus on enabling testing and real-world open RAN deployments by bringing operators, vendors, and systems integrators together.
Stage 1: [Where the industry is Now] – Opening the interface between the radio unit (RU) and distributed unit (DU). This interface is referred to as the fronthaul interface (7-2x split) in the O-RAN parlance. Supporting an open fronthaul interface requires RU and DU vendors to support this functionality.
Stage 2: – Opening the interface between DU and central unit (CU) following the 3GPP higher layer split. This interface is referred to as open F1 in the O-RAN parlance. DU and CU vendors must support open versions of this interface to achieve multivendor interoperability. This phase also includes transitioning from proprietary hardware to GPP / COTS hardware platforms for DU, CU.
Stage 3: – Disaggregating the CU further, into a control plane and user plane components. This change is augmented by the introduction of the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) to host real-time, analytics, SON, & RRM applications, while the CU and the RIC are deployed in edge clouds. Underpinning the Open RAN deployment evolution is the development of open management interfaces for all open RAN components. Here, open, standardized operations and management models are necessary to truly realize the operational benefits of Open RAN. With the potential to deploy extreme automation, this enables operators to drive unprecedented scalability and efficiency into their future Open RAN operations.