Be 5G-ready with next-gen programmable RAN

Be 5G-ready with next-gen programmable RAN

The exponential increase in mobile traffic just compounds the complexity posed by legacy networks. Networks of the future must become software-driven, virtualised, flexible and intelligent to tap the potential of 5G and IoT. With the added complexity of digitalisation that most network service providers face today, it is evident to see a surge in interest of programmable and virtualised networks. This is a natural progression since programmability radically increases the ability to launch innovative services with a high level of agility while also allowing to monetise new services with a level of speed not possible with legacy network infrastructure.

To achieve 5G roll outs on a large scale, it seems necessary to adopt a flexible, open framework. To bolster this STL has developed Programmable, Open and Disaggregated Solutions (PODS) through combined efforts of the open community, the organisation and its partners

PODS makes networking more flexible, open, programmable and simplified. pRAN (programmable RAN) adopts the same philosophy and presents STL’s unique solution for RAN virtualisation. pRAN is a SDN- NFV- and 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, virtualise its components, realize virtualised components in the edge cloud and SDNise it for programmability.

STL’s programmable RAN
In pRAN, STL has developed the nRT-RIC (Near-real time RAN Intelligent Controller), which is also one of the critical components of the O-RAN architecture and meet the below objectives:
Specifies the near-RT control functionalities, and interfaces with CU/DU, controlling functions such as RAN slicing, QoS control, and enhanced/novel RRM functionalities
Standardises near-RealTime RIC open and modular reference architecture, which is based on Radio-Network Information Base and Network Topology, allowing on-boarding of RAN control applications and is compliant with A1/O1/E1/E2 interfaces
Provides next-gen RRM with embedded intelligence, while optionally accommodating legacy RRM Enhances challenging functions such as per-UE controlled load-balancing, RB management, interference detection and mitigation

Virtualised RAN to accelerate 5G

Provides 5GC aligned with 3GPP. Releases 15 and beyond with support for Slicing, eMBMS, MCx and Private LTE

STL’s programmable RAN

pRAN Architecture Overview
5G enabled vEPC: Decoupling the EPC can simplifies the operation and management of packet cores via smart automation and smart orchestration of the provisioning and operation procedures. Also components can be provisioned and can be scaled based on diverse and time varying control and data plane traffic requirements.
Non-RT RIC (Non-Real time RAN Intelligent Controller) Non-RT functions include applications that can serve upto < 1s applications that include service and policy management, RAN analytics and model-training for the near-RT applications.

pRAN Architecture Overview

Near-RT RIC (Near-Real time RAN Intelligent Controller) RIC near-RT include applications that can serve upto < 100ms latency and is completely compatible with legacy RRM and begins by enhancing well understood, but operational challenging functions such as per-UE controlled load-balancing, RB management, interference detection and mitigation.

pRAN enabling strategy with ONF and O-RAN Alliance

CU/DU Protocol stack The primary goal of the CU/DU protocol stack are to implement the control commands issued by the RIC near-RT module through E2 interface and to provide FCAPS information to Orchestrator via A1 interface.

pRAN Value Proposition

STL is closely aligned with Open Network Foundation (ONF) and Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) for enabling pRAN with following approach:
Leading the industry towards open, interopreable interfaces, RAN virtualization, and big data-enabled RAN intelligence

A 5G-driven future with programmable RAN

Maximizing the use of common off-the-shelf hardware and merchant silicon and minimzing propreitary hardware

Non-RT RIC (Non-Real time RAN Intelligent Controller)

Specifying APIs and interfaces, driving standards to adopt them as appropriate and exploring source when appropriate

Near-RT RIC (Near-Real time RAN Intellige

SDN and NFV offer the capability to configure, scale, and reconfigure logical nodes through software commands, enabling RAN to dynamically adjust to changing traffic conditions, hardware faults, as well as new service requirements. This will be achieved by separating logical nodes suitable for virtualization (on a GPP) and designing functions that require specialized hardware to be dynamically (re)configurable on an SPP.
pRAN Value Proposition

CU/DU Protocol stack

pRAN provides the capability to configure, scale and reconfigure logical nodes through software commands that enables RAN to dynamically adjust to changing traffic conditions, hardware faults as well as new service requirements. It supports QoE-based load balancing and QoE-aware ICIC effectively via SDN-based RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC). The data from the network can be fed to machine learning models which can provide practical usage benefits like optimising handover for cars driving along a highway, or load-balancing, or power-saving to start. Additionally, 5GC will have the capability to provide specific slices to support ultra reliable low latency communication, massive machine type communication and mobile broadband.
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