Open RAN is an ongoing shift in mobile network architectures that enables service providers the use of non-proprietary sub components from a variety of vendors. An Open RAN, or open radio access network, is made possible by a set of industry-wide standards that telecom suppliers can follow when producing related equipment. Open RAN enables programmable, intelligent, dis aggregated, virtualized, and interoperable functions. Specifically, the proprietary remote radio head (RRH) and baseband units (BBUs) are now disaggregated to radio units (RUs), distributed units (DUs), and centralized units (CUs), many of which can be virtualized or containerized. The interfaces between these new components are open and interoperable.
The O-RAN Alliance defines the specifications for all Open RAN components and the interfaces between them. Founded in 2018, the O-RAN Alliance is a progressive, global community comprising mobile network operators, manufacturers, vendors, and research and academic organizations working in telecommunications spaces all over the world. Similar terms, such as Open-RAN, ORAN, oran, or O-RAN, are also used in relation to Open RAN. Typically, Open RAN refers to the dis aggregated radio access network with open interfaces between network components sourced from multiple suppliers, whereas O-RAN refers to the O-RAN Alliance and its work.
Deploying O-RAN gives providers a clear path towards fully programmable, intelligent, and multi-vendor RAN. With the help of a RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), providers can control and optimize RAN functions with integrated applications. Specifically, a RIC is a software-defined component of the Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) architecture that enables the on boarding of service provider, vendor, and third-party apps. These applications are accessible in an “app store” and help service providers automate and optimize RAN operations at scale. Applications also support innovative use cases that lower mobile operators’ total cost of ownership (TCO) and enhance customers’ quality of experience (QoE).
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies can also be deployed with Open RAN RIC architecture. These AI/ML functions enable faster, innovative services and lower TCO.
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