RAN being the most important component accounts for approximately 60-70 percent of the total cost of ownership in building and managing a radio network.However, the way a RAN is distributed, the centralization of workload presents significant challenges in terms of network congestion, capital expenditure and launching new services on the fly.This calls for a flexible RAN which will configure dynamically based on usage and coverage. This flexibility provides broader choices for placement of RAN components and hence improving overall spectral efficiency and network capacity.
At STL, together with our partners, we offer open and virtualized RAN which is a cloud-based radio access network solution to help service providers create an Open, Disaggregated and Virtualized 5GC solution aligned with 3GPP. It helps in disaggregating RAN, virtualize its components, realize virtualized components in the edge cloud and SDNise it for programmability.We are in the process of certifying specific uses cases in the field by working with leading mobile operators as well as private enterprises. Thus, they will be offering fully programmable, genuinely open, and wholly disaggregated 5G-NR and Private LTE solution that’s economical and enables cloud delivery models.
OpenRAN architecture allows multivendor compatibility and hence increases competition for rapid innovation
Disaggregation allows operators to use COTS (commercial off the shelf) equipment and hence helps in reducing capex as well as provide multiple deployment scenarios
Breaking the traditional monolithic approach, OpenRAN presents an opportunity to select best of breed equipment and hence reduces cost by competitive pricing
COTS infrastructure allows operators to put strong identity certificates in the network at every interface including radio access
To handle abrupt data demands, virtualization helps in allocating network resources effectively and hence overall better performance
Radio unit (RU): In radio part we offer macro, micro, small cells and indoor radios as per network requirement. Our radios come with open fronthaul interface to facilitate vendor neutral RAN ecosystem. These are logical nodes hosting Low-PHY layer and RF processing based on a lower layer functional split. Here the O-RU terminates the Open fronthaul Interface as well as Low-PHY functions of the radio interface towards the UE, which is a physical node.
Open and virtualized distribution unit (oDU): STL with its partner ecosystem has developed an OPEN RAN based DU which could be hosted on any standard COTS based infrastructure. It’s a logical node hosting RLC/MAC/High-PHY layers based on a lower layer functional split. Here he DU and RRU function includes real-time L2 functions, base band processing and radio frequency processing. This DU infrastructure can be integrated with any white box RU with open front haul interface.
Open and virtualized central unit (oCU): STL with its partner ecosystem has developed a CU software stack which could host multiple DU and RU while sitting at Datacentre or IT infra. It’s a logical node hosting the RRC and the control plane part of the PDCP protocol.
OpenRAN provides an opportunity to reduce both capex and opex of an operator’s network. This makes a perfect case for operators to go for network upgradation using OpenRAN. On one hand deployment of white-boxes and multivendor compatibility helps in reducing capex, on another hand virtualization helps in reducing opex over a long time. Below features of OpenRAN can help in significant overall cost reduction, if deployed prudently.
COTS deployment: Deployment of COTS (commercial off the shelf) brings flexibility to procurement of network equipment. Emerging of start-up’s in this field is generating price pressure over bigger vendors to reduce cost. This opens a larger competitive market for RAN equipment and hence there is an opportunity for operators to buy equipment at lowest cost.
Disaggregation: Decoupling of hardware from software enable operators to buy RAN components individually and hence an opportunity to buy best of breed. This also helps in developing multiple deployment scenario to cater dynamic changes in data demand.
Zero touch provisioning: Zero touch model will improve operations by automating the regular functions. This further reduces the need of human capital and hence can reduce opex to a large extent.
Resource pooling: Virtualization helps in optimization of network resources by enabling resource pooling. This will reduce inventory cost with reduction of spare resources.
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