Tuesday, October 26, 2021

2021 Open RAN Report and Video Showcase

Our 2021 Open RAN report examines key infrastructure considerations for service providers, integrators and enterprises as they contemplate adoption of solutions based on Open RAN principles. We look at relevant trends, organizations and standards, and provide our views on Open RAN and O-RAN adoption.

Our Open RAN video showcase collects and curates key insights from the industry's thought leaders including: Ignacio GarcĂ­a-Carrillo, Telco Infrastructure Pre-Sales Leader at Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Cristina Rodriguez, Vice President of Network Edge and General Manager of the Wireless Access Network Division at Intel; Craig Wilson, VP Global Telecom Industry at IBM; Rob Soni, Head of RAN Infrastructure at VMware; Darrell Jordan-Smith, Senior Vice President, Industries & Global Accounts at Red Hat; Steve Douglas, Head of Market Strategy at Spirent; and Jim Poole, Vice President, Business Development at Equinix.


Intel, Juniper, and Rakuten Symphony partner on O-RAN

by Benedict Chua, Associate Editor

Intel, Juniper Networks, and Rakuten Symphony are collaboratively developing an Open RAN solution that includes a "Symware" multipurpose edge appliance leverages Rakuten Symphony’s containerized RAN software from Altiostar, Intel Xeon D Processors and FlexRAN reference software, and Juniper’s cloud-native routing stack.

Kubernetes will play a key role

The Symware multipurpose edge appliance combines the containerized cell site routing functionality and a containerized Distributed Unit on a single general purpose server platform.

 The companies aim to provide a consistent carrier-grade routing stack across both physical and virtual Radio Access Networks. The goal is to enable 5G network slicing features both in RAN and transport domains including slice isolation, slice monitoring and dynamic traffic steering through segment routing.

The solution supports automation with zero-touch provisioning, rolling updates, telemetry and analytics for all the components, and is based on the Kubernetes ecosystem for orchestration and networking.

“Rakuten Symphony constantly looks to introduce leading-edge innovations to accelerate network transformations,” said Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony. “With our partners, we have developed a cost-performance optimized appliance that simplifies the cell site deployment for 4G, 5G and future generations of mobile technology. Symware provides operators with the ultimate future-proof cell site solution that enables them to flexibly densify their network and accommodate various network topologies at the lowest cost.”

Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president and general manager, Network Platforms Group added, “We continue to see the industry shift to take advantage of the many benefits provided by the cloudification of the RAN. By utilizing our Next Generation Intel® Xeon® D Processors and FlexRANTM reference software, this collaboration showcases how RAN workloads can be consolidated onto a single server and meet the performance, capacity and cost requirements of 5G RAN deployments.”

Raj Yavatkar, Juniper’s CTO, stated “Removing the obstacles of deploying ORAN in disaggregated production networks is critical for 5G growth. Integrated routing and ORAN in a single platform delivers cost and operational benefits for network operators. Combined with industry leading Intel technology and Rakuten’s DU software, Juniper’s disaggregated and state-of-art routing stack offers operators a unique solution for delivering differentiated 5G services including network slicing.”


Interview - Mobile World Congress Los Angeles 2021

 How can a brand new network become the best network in Japan? 

In this video clip, Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Symphony, discusses their success in the use of Open RAN to disrupt the mobile market and how they prevailed despite naysayers.


VMware builds two RAN Intelligent Controllers (RICs)

VMware announced two RAN Intelligent Controllers (RICs), new capabilities for its Telco Cloud Platform RAN, and several key partnerships aimed at helping service providers smoothly transition to Open RAN.

“When it comes to Open RAN, the genie is out of the bottle. The potential benefits of increasing innovation while reducing operational expense are compelling. As such, VMware is pushing to accelerate the transformation of the RAN along with Open RAN principles,” said Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider and Edge, VMware. “VMware is paving the way for service providers to modernize the RAN so it is programmable and intelligent, built with best-of-breed solutions from a vibrant partner ecosystem.”

The RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) is a new platform defined by the O-RAN Alliance that abstracts the underlying RAN infrastructure and provides developer APIs for xApps and rApps to program the RAN. VMware announced two RICs that can run independently of each other, or together:
  • VMware Centralized RIC, an implementation of the non-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (non-RT RIC) in the O-RAN Alliance reference architecture. It will manage and host rApps that have control functions with response timing greater than one second.
  • VMware Distributed RIC, an implementation of the near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (near-RT RIC) in the O-RAN Alliance reference architecture. It will manage and host xApps that have control functions with response timing less than one second, typically on the order of 10’s of milliseconds.

VMware RIC SDKs are expected to be generally available in VMware’s Q4 FY22. VMware RIC is expected to be initially available in VMware’s Q1 FY23. 

VMware said its RIC has been engineered to integrate with traditional RAN equipment as well as virtualized RAN network functions independent of them being O-RAN compliant. A large ecosystem of xApps and rApps enables service providers to maximize the benefits of an Open RAN to address their unique requirements and priorities. VMware is preparing to launch a RAN application developer program to help partners jump-start and accelerate the development of xApps and rApps. 

The company also cited a number of partners who are already working with VMware to integrate their xApps and/or rApps as microservices on VMware RIC through SDKs, including:

  • Cohere Technologies’ Spectrum Multiplier xApp improves spectral efficiency for service providers by as much as 2x with the use of its unique Delay-Doppler channel representation (read the press release).
  • Polte's location xApp pioneers more secure, accurate and global location intelligence for service providers and their customers (read the press release).
  • AirHop xApps and rApps support a broad spectrum of use cases, including RAN configuration and operation optimization, interference management, capacity and coverage optimization, and mobility optimization.
  • Cellwize RAN intelligence technology and rApps enable backward compatibility alongside O-RAN future proof management and orchestration of multi-vendor networks.
  • Intel is a strategic partner as VMware works with service providers to virtualize the RAN. VMware RIC is based on Intel FlexRAN reference architecture, enabling a flexible and programmable platform for software-defined RANs.

“Intel FlexRAN software allows operators transitioning to a cloud-native architecture to run their RAN and AI workloads on the same standard hardware platform as other workloads, from core to edge to access,” said Cristina Rodriguez, vice president of Intel’s Network Edge Group and general manager, Wireless Access Network Division. “VMware RIC, powered with Intel AI and Machine Learning capabilities, supports a wide variety of xApps and rApps that will help operators optimize their network performance, deliver new functions and features, and offer new value-added services.”

New capabilities for VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN aim to strike a balance between network performance and operational flexibility, including: 

  • Performance: VMware ESXi delivers real-time performance for RAN workloads.
  • Cost reduction: VMware Tanzu for Telco combined with VMware ESXi allows service providers to mix and match various cloud-native RAN workloads and custom 5G applications on the same physical appliance, ideal for open and disaggregated RAN where space is limited at the cell site and the number of sites keeps growing.
  • Operational consistency: VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN provides a common platform and end-to-end automation and orchestration across 5G networks to prevent creating siloed islands of network functions.


AT&T delivers Private 5G/Edge for Ford's Rouge electric vehicle factory

Ford Motor Company has deployed a private 5G network based on AT&T 5G with AT&T’s Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) technology at the  Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan.

The network will support advanced applications used in the production of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning.

“With this collaboration, we’ll help Ford unlock the potential of 5G helping to build the truck of the future,” said Rasesh Patel, Chief Product & Platform Officer, AT&T Business. “It’s 5G connectivity coming to life! And it’s all thanks to the transformative ultra-fast speeds, incredibly low latency, and massive connectivity that is 5G in action.

“The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center was built with a clean-slate design and features the latest in advanced manufacturing technology,” said Adrian Price, executive director, Global Manufacturing Engineering, Ford Motor Company. “We are deploying 5G technology at this facility as a platform to enable us to use significant additional advanced manufacturing technologies in the future.”


PAWR Project demos O-RAN slicing

The Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) Project is demonstrating radio access network (RAN) slicing in an open RAN environment at this week's  Mobile World Congress (MWC) Los Angeles.

The demo shows a RAN slicing application in coordination with a near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (Cherry and Dawn release have been tested) and implemented on an end-to-end open source platform. With a POWDER-developed xApp linking to a RAN slicing manager, the team illustrates how the RAN slicer makes it possible to allocate resources dynamically, creating custom network slices that attach to targeted base stations and user endpoints.

“We are excited to give the industry a look at what’s possible in an open, programmable network setting,” said Kobus Van der Merwe, Associate Professor at the University of Utah and Principal Investigator on the POWDER testbed. “To our knowledge, our work represents the first effort to combine an open RAN framework with an open source mobility stack, providing a top-to-bottom RAN application in a realistic wireless environment.”

The PAWR program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and an industry consortium of 35 leading wireless companies. It is managed by the PAWR Project Office, which is co-led by nonprofit US Ignite and Northeastern University. In addition to POWDER, platforms in the PAWR program include COSMOS in New York City, AERPAW in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, and ARA, a newly-named rural broadband testbed in Ames, Iowa. 


FCC revokes China Telecom America's license

Citing national security concerns, the Federal Communications Commission a(FCC) revoked China Telecom (Americas) Corporation’s ability to provide domestic interstate and international telecommunications services within the United States.  

China Telecom Americas has been ordered to discontinue any domestic or international services that it provides pursuant to its section 214 authority within sixty days following the release of the order.  

The FCC noted several reasons for its decision, including:

China Telecom Americas, a U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned enterprise, is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight.  

China Telecom Americas’ ownership and control by the Chinese government raise significant national security and law enforcement risks by providing opportunities for China Telecom Americas, its parent entities, and the Chinese government to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute U.S. communications, which in turn allow them to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the United States.  

 China Telecom Americas’ conduct and representations to the Commission and other U.S. government agencies demonstrate a lack of candor, trustworthiness, and reliability that erodes the baseline level of trust that the Commission and other U.S. government agencies require of telecommunications carriers given the critical nature of the provision of telecommunications service in the United States.  

Biden nominates Jessica Rosenworcel and Gigi Sohn to FCC

President Biden nominated Jessica Rosenworcel to serve as Chair of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as Commissioner of the FCC.

Jessica Rosenworcel presently serves as acting chair of the FCC. She has served as a Commissioner since 2012. Prior to joining the agency, she served as Senior Communications Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, under the leadership of Senator John D. Rockefeller IV and Senator Daniel Inouye. Before entering public service, Jessica practiced communications law. 

Gigi Sohn is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate. From 2013-2016, Gigi served as Counselor to Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and from 2001-2013 was Co-Founder and CEO of Public Knowledge, a leading communications and technology policy advocacy organization serving the interests of consumers. She was previously a Project Specialist in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture unit and Executive Director of the Media Access Project, a communications public interest law firm. Gigi holds a B.S. in Broadcasting and Film, Summa Cum Laude, from the Boston University College of Communication and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 

President Biden also nominated Alan Davidson to serve as Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Department of Commerce. He is currently a Senior Advisor at the Mozilla Foundation, a global nonprofit that promotes openness, innovation, and participation on the Internet. He was previously Mozilla’s Vice President of Global Policy, Trust and Security, where he led public policy and privacy teams promoting an open Internet and a healthy web. Alan served in the Obama-Biden Administration as the first Director of Digital Economy at the U.S. Department of Commerce. He started Google’s public policy office in Washington, D.C., leading government relations and policy in North and South America for seven years until 2012.

Juniper posts Q3 sales of $1.19 billion, up 4% yoy

Juniper Networks reported preliminary Q3 2021 net revenues of $1,188.8 million, an increase of 4% year-over-year and an increase of 1% sequentially. GAAP operating margin was 10.1%, a decrease from 11.0% in the third quarter of 2020, and an increase from 7.3% in the second quarter of 2021. Non-GAAP net income was $152.0 million, an increase of 5% year-over-year, and an increase of 8% sequentially, resulting in non-GAAP diluted net income per share of $0.46.

“We reported a fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue growth and a second consecutive quarter of exceptional order growth during the Q3 time period,” said Juniper’s CEO, Rami Rahim. “Our strategy is working and the investments we have made both in our customer solutions and our sales organization are enabling us to capitalize on the strong demand across each of our end markets. Based on the momentum we are seeing, I am confident in our ability to not only grow our business in the December quarter, but also to do so again during the upcoming year.”

Juniper also stated that it continuew to experience component shortages which has resulted in extended lead times and elevated costs of certain products. However, the company believes it has sufficient supplies of semiconductors and other components to meet its financial forecast.