How to ensure a successful Open RAN deployment – Amdocs

How to ensure a successful deployment of Open RAN - what are the stages of deployment evolution? What are the key imperatives for operators? How to leverage the Open Network Ecosystem?
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.

 


 

The 3 stages of Open RAN deployment

  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.  


 

State of current open RAN deployments and trials

While some pioneer greenfield operators such as Rakuten in Japan and DISH network in the USA are fully embracing Open RAN, brownfield operators too are now beginning to trial and deploy the standard. The recent developments in North America (US FCC’s open RAN NOI, US Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act), Europe (MoU among major operator groups), Latin America, and Asia highlight the growing interest in testing and deploying Open RAN.

Some brownfield operators are finding Open RAN solutions – especially multi-technology deployments – to be a compelling proposition for deploying RAN at an affordable cost. Yet, at the same time, for operators and vendors alike, there is an understanding that there is more work to be done in the areas of developing, testing, deploying, and commercializing fully O-RAN standards-compliant solutions.

Open RAN is also garnering interest for private networking needs. Private enterprises are seeking virtualized, cloud-native, future-proof solutions for their private networking needs. Open RAN architecture offers them a compelling option, allowing them to start with 4G and subsequently upgrade to 5G software without swapping any hardware. Specifically, the deployment of cloud-native RAN components on edge stacks (e.g., MSFT Azure, AWS, GCP) combined with core network software and IT applications make this deployment scenario an attractive proposition.

 


 

Key imperatives for operators

To accelerate the adoption of Open RAN and realize the benefits, operators must first develop a full understanding of the following:

  • Interoperability and performance of a multi-vendor Open RAN
  • The total cost of ownership of Open RAN
  • The tradeoff between the benefits of disaggregation and systems integration costs
  • Level of automation, including the use of ML and AI technologies, to drive performance and efficiency
  • Range of use cases and applications, notably at the network edge, that benefit from disaggregated Open RAN
  • How Open RAN can co-exist with traditional RAN

To gain these understandings, operators must undertake the following initiatives:

  • Test and integrate various disaggregated sub-systems (RU, CU, DU, RIC, xApps, SMO, rApps)
  • Evolve to multi-vendor, end-to-end system testing to create a completely deployable Open RAN solution
  • Deploy and test architecture and open interfaces in the areas of cloud management, network orchestration, software management, zero-touch provisioning, CI/CD, FCAPS, and assurance
  • Deploy and test architectures and interfaces to ML/AI to enhance analytics and closed-loop optimization to drive higher network performance and efficiency
  • Conduct field trials incorporating all open ecosystem software components (e.g. ONF SD-RAN, O-RAN OSC, ONAP) with open RU, open CU, and open DU subsystems
  • Develop benchmarks, a playbook, and business cases for various deployment use cases and scenarios

 


 

Leveraging the open network ecosystem

Amdocs Open Ecosystem Accelerator for Open RAN provides access to open ecosystem partners, as well as open-source-based solutions and services to help operators test, deploy and launch open RAN networks. Amdocs’ capabilities span all phases of the Open RAN lifecycle, including pre-deployment – testing & integration, deployment – orchestration & management, and Operations – intelligence & automation.

Open RAN end-to-end lab services – Services include managing the program, developing end-to-end network design (IP RAN, IP CORE), preparing the bill of material, liaising with equipment vendors, procuring all equipment, as well as integrating and installing the RAN, core, and transport elements. It also includes infrastructure automation, which enables the provision of lab infrastructure as a service for on-premise, hybrid, and cloud environments. Open RAN testing, automation, and integration services – Services include creating test object lists, assembling test plans, executing test plans, performance validation, benchmarking, reporting results, deploying automation for testing, providing lab infrastructure as a service, and reporting to augment CI/CD pipelines as per O-RAN alliance testing specifications and methodologies. Pre-integrated open RAN solution – Services include reselling partner products, deploying and supporting pre-integrated and tested open RAN solutions. Furthermore, Amdocs works with various Open RAN systems providers to ensure the integrated solution meets the operators’ requirements and is ready to be tested and deployed in the field. Open source-based RAN orchestration, management, and automation – This solution utilizes open source software (e.g. ONAP components) to support multi-vendor Open RAN to orchestrate, configure, deploy (support CI/CD), as well as manage PNFs, VNFs, and CNFs in a multi-cloud environment. Capabilities include service designer, O-cloud management, support FCAPs, non-RT RIC, and rApps. Supported use cases include network slicing and assurance. Open source-based RAN intelligence and automation – This solution utilizes open source software (e.g. ONF SD-RAN, O-RAN OSC) to develop and deploy AI/ML-driven analytics and optimization applications. Use cases include near real-time geo-analytics, coverage capacity optimization, massive MIMO/beamforming optimization, QoE optimization, and traffic steering.  


 

O-RAN Interview with Karpura Suryadevara

 

Which industry organizations are playing a prominent role in developing Open RAN?

The main organizations driving the evolution of Open RAN include O-RAN Alliance, O-RAN OSC (Linux Foundation), ONF (SD-RAN project), and Telecom Infra Project (TIP). O-RAN Alliance focuses on use cases, open RAN architecture, open interfaces, and specifications including testing and integration, while O-RAN OSC and the ONF SD-RAN project provide a software base for some of the components such as RIC. Meanwhile, TIP plays a crucial role in aligning the use cases, deployment requirements, vendors and operators so that first, tests can be conducted in labs and field networks, and subsequently, for the acceleration of commercial deployments.

How is Amdocs involved with O-RAN Alliance?

We’ve been collaborating with the O-RAN Alliance since 2018. Our focus areas include testing & integration, service management & orchestration (including Non-RT RIC, rApps), and near RT RIC applications (xApps). Our contributions include white papers and defining use cases such as massive MIMO & network slice management. We have voting rights in WG1 (Use Cases and Overall Architecture workgroup) and WG2 (Non-real-time RIC and A1 Interface workgroup) and we’re contributors to the 2021 Minimum Viable Plan committee’s (MVP-C) activities.

What about your involvement with Telecom Infra Project (TIP)?

We’ve been collaborating with TIP groups since 2016 with activities spanning Open RAN, Open Core, and Open Transport groups. Within Open RAN specifically, we’re members of the RIA (RAN Intelligence & Automation) and ROMA (RAN Orchestration, Management & Automation) subgroups. Within the RIA subgroup, we collaborate with operators and technology partners to deploy machine learning (ML)-driven use cases on ONF SD-RAN’s near-RT RIC platform. Amdocs has also been selected as part of the preferred vendor list for the first round of use case trials. Within the recently-formed ROMA sub-group, we look forward to contributing to various automation use cases, enabling more holistic and unified Open RAN management.

What benefits have you seen from your collaboration within the O-RAN Alliance & TIP?

In TIP, RIA and ROMA initiatives have been key to driving future RAN automation use cases towards PoCs, trials, and deployments. The RIA subgroup’s operator and TIP technical leads have been particularly successful in defining use cases and aligning vendor capabilities with operator interests in order to build early PoCs. Thanks to this collaboration, we’ve been able to take new ML-based analytics and optimization use cases and develop plans to conduct early proofs of concept, as well as actual deployments. In the O-RAN Alliance, the overall architecture and new interface definitions, including the OAM work for O-RAN, are providing us with a foundation to develop open, multi-vendor automation, while the specifications are also contributing to our own work in developing multi-vendor analytics and automation for RAN.

Read the complete article in the 5G Magazine

Spotlight Your Innovation in 5G Magazine

The Private Network Revolution

Related Magazine Content

Magazine
Explore Nokia’s leadership in private 5G/LTE networks, showcasing a global reach with over 500 enterprise customers and 1500+ mission-critical networks across industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and more.
Magazine
Explore Nokia’s leadership in private 5G/LTE networks, showcasing a global reach with over 500 enterprise customers and 1500+ mission-critical networks across industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and more.
Magazine
Explore how Cox’s MOCN Neutral Host revolutionizes indoor cellular connectivity in education and healthcare, offering robust, cost-effective solutions.
Magazine
Explore how Cox’s MOCN Neutral Host revolutionizes indoor cellular connectivity in education and healthcare, offering robust, cost-effective solutions.
Magazine
Discover how 5G analytics, through NWDAF, enhances telecom operations, enabling cost reduction and new revenue channels.
Magazine
Discover how 5G analytics, through NWDAF, enhances telecom operations, enabling cost reduction and new revenue channels.
Magazine
Explore how John Deere is systematically adopting private 5G networks, addressing challenges arising from rapid growth of industrial IoT and network limitations.
Magazine
Explore how John Deere is systematically adopting private 5G networks, addressing challenges arising from rapid growth of industrial IoT and network limitations.
Magazine
Organizations globally are tapping into the vast potential of the Operational IoT market, from transforming weather monitoring in remote mines to ensuring safe drinking water in African communities. The real game-changer is the integration of reliable, cost-effective satellite connections, predicted to rise to tens of millions by 2030. These connections make it possible to transmit data periodically rather than in real-time, reducing costs and meeting the specific needs of industries like agriculture, shipping, and environmental monitoring. The challenge for Systems Integrators (SIs) is to ensure their Satellite IoT deployments are not only technologically viable but also commercially successful. Ensuring robust satellite coverage, cost-effective deployment, and prolonged battery life are essential to this business case. Forward-thinking SIs have already started their journeys, optimizing Satellite IoT solutions, proving its business worth, and preparing for large-scale deployments.
Magazine
Organizations globally are tapping into the vast potential of the Operational IoT market, from transforming weather monitoring in remote mines to ensuring safe drinking water in African communities. The real game-changer is the integration of reliable, cost-effective satellite connections, predicted to rise to tens of millions by 2030. These connections make it possible to transmit data periodically rather than in real-time, reducing costs and meeting the specific needs of industries like agriculture, shipping, and environmental monitoring. The challenge for Systems Integrators (SIs) is to ensure their Satellite IoT deployments are not only technologically viable but also commercially successful. Ensuring robust satellite coverage, cost-effective deployment, and prolonged battery life are essential to this business case. Forward-thinking SIs have already started their journeys, optimizing Satellite IoT solutions, proving its business worth, and preparing for large-scale deployments.
Magazine
The emergence of 5G New Radio NTN is set to revolutionize the satellite communication market by bridging the gap between terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks. Offering improved speeds, lower latency, and enhanced reliability, 5G NR unlocks new transformative use cases from smart cities to augmented reality. With 5G NR’s potential to beam signals from space, satellite communication will gain a competitive edge, providing powerful, seamless connectivity globally. Additionally, the unification of 5G standardization for both types of technologies promises heightened interoperability, allowing users to switch between networks effortlessly. This synergy presents a lucrative opportunity for businesses in both sectors, even as technical challenges persist.
Magazine
The emergence of 5G New Radio NTN is set to revolutionize the satellite communication market by bridging the gap between terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks. Offering improved speeds, lower latency, and enhanced reliability, 5G NR unlocks new transformative use cases from smart cities to augmented reality. With 5G NR’s potential to beam signals from space, satellite communication will gain a competitive edge, providing powerful, seamless connectivity globally. Additionally, the unification of 5G standardization for both types of technologies promises heightened interoperability, allowing users to switch between networks effortlessly. This synergy presents a lucrative opportunity for businesses in both sectors, even as technical challenges persist.
Magazine
The rise of smart vehicles, projected to surpass 470 million connected cars by 2025, is rapidly transforming the transportation landscape. Enabled by IoT, these vehicles offer real-time communication with infrastructure, on-the-go diagnostics, and advanced safety features. Yet, challenges like patchy cellular network coverage persist. From facilitating autonomous driving and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to enhancing safety and sustainability, satellite-powered IoT is set to accelerate the connected vehicles revolution, optimizing transportation efficiency and environmental impact.
Magazine
The rise of smart vehicles, projected to surpass 470 million connected cars by 2025, is rapidly transforming the transportation landscape. Enabled by IoT, these vehicles offer real-time communication with infrastructure, on-the-go diagnostics, and advanced safety features. Yet, challenges like patchy cellular network coverage persist. From facilitating autonomous driving and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to enhancing safety and sustainability, satellite-powered IoT is set to accelerate the connected vehicles revolution, optimizing transportation efficiency and environmental impact.
Magazine
The mobile phone industry is undergoing a transformation, with emerging technology enabling direct communication between standard mobile phones and satellites. With regulatory changes, international partnerships, and new technological standards, mobile devices will soon boast enhanced satellite connectivity. Companies like SpaceX and Apple are diving deep into the race to provide extensive satellite communication, partnering with T-Mobile and Globalstar, respectively. As the competition intensifies, companies are pushed to innovate or risk becoming obsolete.
Magazine
The mobile phone industry is undergoing a transformation, with emerging technology enabling direct communication between standard mobile phones and satellites. With regulatory changes, international partnerships, and new technological standards, mobile devices will soon boast enhanced satellite connectivity. Companies like SpaceX and Apple are diving deep into the race to provide extensive satellite communication, partnering with T-Mobile and Globalstar, respectively. As the competition intensifies, companies are pushed to innovate or risk becoming obsolete.
Magazine
Discover how Radisys Corporation is shaping the future of Open RAN and 5G technologies. Embracing change and spurring innovation, Radisys is accelerating the deployment of flexible and integrated solutions, pioneering a new era in wireless communication. Learn how they are extending network coverage, deploying private 5G use cases, and championing energy efficiency. Explore Radisys’ strategic focus areas in partner collaboration and their extensive collaborations within the 5G ecosystem in our comprehensive article.
Magazine
Discover how Radisys Corporation is shaping the future of Open RAN and 5G technologies. Embracing change and spurring innovation, Radisys is accelerating the deployment of flexible and integrated solutions, pioneering a new era in wireless communication. Learn how they are extending network coverage, deploying private 5G use cases, and championing energy efficiency. Explore Radisys’ strategic focus areas in partner collaboration and their extensive collaborations within the 5G ecosystem in our comprehensive article.
Magazine
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.
Magazine
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.

Content, Design, And Lead Generation Services to Elevate your Marketing Efforts