As the telecom industry stride towards open and virtualized RAN, importance of RIC has tremendously increased. RIC is a cloud native architecture and sits at the heart of open and virtualized RAN network. It customizes RAN functionality by optimization of regional resources and hence enable quick launch of new services. It is very well aligned with O-RAN architecture and optimizes RAN elements via fine-grained data collection and actions over E2 interface. It manages all the RAN resources and triggers near real time action to improve overall network efficiency.
STL has developed the nRT-RIC (Near-real time RAN Intelligent Controller), which is completely aligned with O-RAN specifications and serves as a critical component in enabling open and virtualized RAN. Below are its key functions:
It specifies near real time control functionalities and enables RAN slicing, QoS control, enhanced/novel RRM etc.
It provides enhanced radio resource management (RRM) with embedded AI/ML intelligence. Further it enables challenging functions such as per UE controlled load balancing, radio database management, interference detection and mitigation
RIC follows an open and modular reference architecture and is complaint with A1/O1/E1/E2 interfaces
It is perfectly aligned with 3GPP release 15 and beyond and supports network slicing, eMBMS, MCx etc
RIC with its standardized open interfaces gives the control of RAN optimization back to operators and enables them to host third party xApps
RIC effectively balances the RAN load and hence alleviates network congestion
Separation between RIC platform and xApps helps in quick enablement of new services
Fine time granular control loops across L3 to L1 helps in various dynamic situations like mobility, scheduling, beam management etc.
Enables data driven optimization leveraging operator’s RAN data to deploy AI/ML models for L3-L1 predictive intelligence
RIC enables dynamic spectrum sharing among multiple radio access towers and hence efficient resource management