STL RIC platform is an O-RAN compliant cloud native architecture and sits at the heart of open and virtualized RAN network. It helps in creating an open ecosystem for developing, deploying, and operating third party applications (xApps for Near-RT RIC and rApps for Non-RT RIC) that would enable TCO optimization and enable revenue generation.


As the Radio Access Network (RAN) industry continues to evolve towards an open, virtualized and disaggregated environment. One of the central components of open RAN, RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) continues to gain momentum. RIC offers an opportunity to Telcos enabling them to drive RAN efficiency and enable new use cases through greater network efficiency, resource assurance and control. All these benefits will enable Telcos to save cost, improve QoS, and generate new revenue streams.


Features:

  • a. Service Management and Orchestration Framework (SMO Framework)
    1. a1. STL Non-real-time RAN intelligent controller (Non-RT RIC)
    2. a2. STL RAN Operations and Management (RAN OAM)
    3. a3. STL RAN Domain Orchestrator (RAN DO)

STL RIC platform comprises of the following components:


  1. STL SMO (Service Management and Orchestration) Framework:

    The STL SMO (Service Management and Orchestration) framework comprises of

    1. a1. Non-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (Non-RT RIC):
    2. A logical function that enables non-real time control and optimization of RAN elements and resources. This provides policy-based guidance, machine learning (ML) model management, and information enrichment to the near-RT RIC via the A1 interface. This platform is built using open APIs to support north bound interfaces and hence vendor agnostic.

    3. a2. RAN Operations & Management (RAN O&M):
    4. RAN OAM (Operations and Management) is responsible for the management of the elements under its span of control through the STL OAM GUI. Below are the three key features:

      • Vendor agnostic service: Management operations and/or notifications that are agnostic about the entities managed. For example, operations for creating, reading, updating, and deleting managed object instances
      • Network Resource Model: It refers to management information represented by information models representing the managed entities
      • Managed Entity: It refers to management information represented by information models representing the managed entities
    5. a3. RAN Domain Orchestrator (RAN DO):
    6. STL RAN Domain Orchestrator (RAN DO) will support infrastructure management, Site Registration Function, Image Inventory Management, Platform Installation, Location, and Topology Management. It supports the following three functions:

      • RAN NSSMF (Network Slice Subnet Management Function)
      • NF Orchestration
      • Cloud infrastructure management and operation
  2. Near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (Near-RT RIC):
  3. Near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (Near-RT RIC) is an O-RAN compliant logical function that enables near-real-time control and optimization of RAN elements and resources via fine-grained (e.g., UE basis, Cell basis) data collection and actions over E2 interface.

    • Network control back to operators: RIC with its standardized open interfaces gives the control of RAN optimization back to operators and enables them to host third party xApps
    • Improves RAN performance: RIC effectively balances the RAN load and hence alleviates network congestion
    • Quick enablement of new services: Separation between STL Near-RT RIC platform and xApps helps in quick enablement of new service
    • Supports low latency applications: Fine time granular control loops across L3 to L1 helps in various dynamic situations like mobility, scheduling, and load balancing
    • AI/ML Driven Network Control: Enables data driven optimization by supporting operator's RAN data to deploy AI/ML models
    • Pre-O-RAN Support: STL Near-RT RIC can be deployed in both brown and/or green Fields

    RIC Decoupled Architecture




    • SMO is decomposed into interoperable SMO Functions (SMOF) which produce interoperable SMO Services (SMOS)
    • SMOS (inter-SMOF) Interfaces in the Decoupled Architecture capture the same functionality as Internal Interfaces in the Integrated Architecture

    RIC Platform Capabilities

    • Brownfield Integration Readiness
    • Wireline & Wireless Access Convergence for Control & Manageability
    • Multi-vendor support for underlay Infrastructure
    • Multi-vendor intra-RIC to overlay RIC Applications
    • Greenfield Integrations
    • Interoperability with Existing Infrastructure
    • Automated Deployments
    • Deployable in any Cloud Environment
    • Customizable Intuitive Dashboard

    Use Cases


    Data Centre Solutions

    Hybrid Automatic Neighbour Relations Enhancements (ANR-E)*


    Leveraging on QoS / KPI measurements STL RIC (rApp) can improve the neighbour relations providing easy integration of disparate solutions from multiple vendors.

    Data Centre Solutions

    PCI
    (Physical Cell Id) optimization*


    STL RIC (rApp)Automatically detects and resolve PCI collisions and confusions without manual intervention by creating optimal PCI code allocations.

    Data Centre Solutions

    Mobility Load
    Balancing (MLB)*


    Using the metrics such as RSRP/CQI/Cell-load STL RIC (xApp) builds an ML Model, and if a cell is overloaded then the UE's target cells are identified, and load balancing is achieved.

    Data Centre Solutions

    Other High Value Use cases through 3rd Party Vendors/ Partners


    RAN energy savings. Atmospheric ducting interference mitigation. Alarm root cause analysis, alarm correlation, and ticket suppression. Elimination of drive tests.

    Data Centre Solutions

    Atmospheric Ducting


    Detection of ducting-based interference is complex and often remain enigmatic to MNOs

    Data Centre Solutions

    KPI monitoring and alerting via AI/ML


    Proactive approach to network quality maintenance, substantial TCO reduction by eliminating manual labour

    Benefits


    Real-time Policy Design

    Modular

    Modular, any changes with respect to bug fixes or software upgrades can be done

    Real-time Policy Design

    Flexible

    Decoupling gives more flexibility, telecom operator has the option of deploying Non - RT RIC alone

    Real-time Policy Design

    Vendor Agnostic

    Operators can now choose the applications that adds value and addresses their use cases

    Real-time Policy Design

    Total Cost of Ownership

    STL RIC can optimise both Opex and Capex and help reduce the overall cost


    Videos



    "Near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller "
    Mobility Load Balancing

    "Non-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller"
    Avoids PCI Collision and Confusion



    For more details, write to ravi.prakash@stl.tech

    FAQ's


    The true benefits of 5G will be realized on a massive scale, which operators must pay dearly for. The open RAN (radio access network) ecosystem has flourished in recent years as a result of carrier-led efforts to shift network economics in their favor, and it is potentially poised for a major breakthrough.

    An Open Radio Access Network (O RAN) is a nonproprietary Radio Access Network (RAN) system that enables interoperability between cellular network equipment from various vendors. The O-RAN is a game-changer. It decouples the software and hardware components of network infrastructure, making providing Internet access in remote areas easier and more cost-effective. Furthermore, disaggregation of RAN functions aids in lowering network costs and complexity. Furthermore, Open RAN deployments eliminate vendor lock-in and enable service providers to reap the benefits of virtualization.

    A disaggregated approach to deploying mobile fronthaul and midhaul networks based entirely on cloud-native principles is known as an Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN). Through the common attributes of intelligence, efficiency, and versatility, O-RAN emphasizes streamlined 5G RAN performance objectives. Open RAN deployed at the network edge will benefit 5G applications, as well as effectively support network slicing and enable secure and efficient over-the-air firmware upgrades.

    The Next Generation RAN (NG-RAN) architecture was first introduced by the GSMA's 3GPP in their Release 15 (5G Version 1) technical specification TS 38.401. O-RAN is an evolution of the NG-RAN architecture.

    A RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) is a software-defined key component of the Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) architecture that optimizes RAN elements and customizes RAN functionality at the edge. RIC manages and optimizes RAN resources to support interoperability across different hardware (RU, servers) and software (DU/CU) components, the rapid implementation of new services, and the triggering of near real-time action to improve overall network efficiency.
    RIC promotes innovative use cases that can reduce total costs for mobile operators while improving customer quality of experience (QoE) and quality of service (QoS) - bringing intelligence, agility, and programmability to radio access networks.

    SD-RAN is ONF's new exemplar platform for 3GPP-compliant software-defined RAN that adheres to the O-RAN architecture. It is cloud-native and is based on ONF's well-known, deployed platforms, such as ONOS and Aether. Beginning with an ONOS-based Smart RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), the exemplar platform intends to develop open source components for the control and user planes of the disaggregated RAN's Central Unit and Distributed Unit in close collaboration with the O-RAN Alliance and the O-RAN Software Community.

    The SD-RAN architecture and vision for the nRT-RIC will be based on the O-RAN architecture and vision. SD-RAN will build an open source nRT-RIC (called ONOS-RIC) and exemplar xApps, including handover and load balancing implementations (among other things), and then prototype and work with operators to trial combinations of these open components with vendor-proprietary (or other open versions) of RU/DU/CU, RIC, and xApps.

    Learning Resources

    Key insights into future-ready data centre designs

    Learning Resources
    Brochure

    RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC)

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    Learning Resources
    Whitepaper

    Radio Access Network Performance Management for 4G/5G Networks (Traditional and O-RAN)

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    Learning Resources
    Whitepaper

    Key Enabler for MNOs TCO Reduction

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    Learning Resources
    Whitepaper

    The Role of the RAN Intelligent Controller in Open RAN Systems

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    Infographic
    Whitepaper

    Enabling AI/ML in a RIC framework for Proactive Intelligent Management

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