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The advance of open radio access network technologies has received a boost in Europe and the rest of the world, with two of the leaders in Open RAN announcing projects to accelerate market availability of compliant technology to leading providers.
In the first development, cloud-native network software provider Mavenir has announced a collaboration with specialised network solutions developer and system integrator Aspire Technology in response to increased demand for integrated high-performing Open RAN systems from communication service providers (CSPs).
Specifically attempting to address interest in O-RAN-compliant cloud-native centralised unit (CU) and distributed unit (DU) RAN software stacks, it will accelerate the market availability of O-RAN split 7.2 compliant remote radiohead units (RRUs) using Aspire’s Open Networks Lab in Europe.
Noting that market momentum is being fuelled by modernisation and coverage expansion projects, as well as private networks and indoor projects, Mavenir says the number of O-RAN-compliant RRUs from partners globally is also growing, with sophisticated products across the different radio technologies, including Massive MIMO (mMIMO) and millimetre Wave (mmWave).
In their partnership, Mavenir and Aspire use the Open Networks Lab in Dublin for third-party RRU integration and testing. Also, RRU suppliers will be able to engage directly with Aspire and fast-track the integration and testing of new O-RAN-compliant radios and frequency variants with Mavenir CU/DU software.
The two companies regard their collaboration as of benefit to not only RRU suppliers, but also CSPs by expanding the offering of innovative and high-performing technology supporting a wide variety of use cases.
“This partnership greatly enhances the capacity to integrate and test RRUs with Mavenir’s CU/DU for 4G and 5G,” said Puneet Sethi, SVP/GM RAN business for Mavenir. “Open RAN has accelerated to a point where we need to continuously innovate to be ahead of demand, including go-to-market models.
“Our RRU partners want to get their newest products available for deployment, and CSPs want to take full advantage of a fast-paced ecosystem minimising integration and testing effort. We are continuously expanding our partner ecosystems for RRU integration to respond to the evolving market needs with specialised high-quality services and fast turnaround.”
Meanwhile, in Japan, Fujitsu Network Communications said it would contribute 5G massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) radio units (RUs) as part of Evenstar, a programme by Meta Connectivity and global industry partners to accelerate the adoption of Open RAN technologies, compliant with 3GPP specifications, expanding the OpenRAN ecosystem to increase flexibility, drive innovation and lower cost. The RUs will be tested, validated and listed on the TIP Exchange Marketplace in the second half of 2022.
Fujitsu said that with commercial 5G deployments gaining momentum worldwide, an increasing number of network service providers are embracing Open RAN technologies to take advantage of greater component choice, reduced costs and improved network performance.
It believes that with standardised open radio interfaces, service providers have the flexibility to source radios from different suppliers and that the development of a robust Open RAN ecosystem, accelerated by Evenstar, will allow mobile network operators to select optimal components from an increasing number of suppliers, helping to bring new 5G services to market sooner.
Fujitsu will provide 3.5GHz RUs that support O-RAN standardised interfaces. With 64T64R antennas, the massive multi-user MIMO radios are said to be able to deliver higher spectral efficiency, better coverage and lower interference at the cell edge than traditional radios. Their low power consumption and efficient use of spectrum will also contribute to carbon neutrality.
The radio hardware also features beam steering capabilities, including dynamic weight-based beam steering, UE (user equipment) channel information-based beam steering and attributed based dynamic beam steering to intelligently provide capacity when and where needed.
“Massive MIMO technology provides dramatic advancements in throughput and spectral efficiency, which enable performance improvements for superior 5G consumer experiences,” said Femi Adeyemi, head of the wireless business unit at Fujitsu Network Communications. “Our collaboration with Evenstar will give global service providers more 5G ecosystem options, accelerate delivery of 5G services and support carbon neutrality for a sustainable society.”
Jaydeep Ranade, director of wireless engineering at Meta Connectivity, added: “The development of a vibrant Open RAN ecosystem will allow mobile network operators to select best-of-breed components from an increasing number of suppliers. Fujitsu’s massive MIMO contributions to the Open RAN ecosystem are an important part of our efforts to continually improve performance of the RAN through innovation and automation.”