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Open Networks: Integration and OEM Ecosystems 

Open networks come with promises – but also require solid integration skills.

Andriy Bilous / February 20, 2024

Open networks for the future

The idea of creating networks with equipment from multiple vendors and implementing the Plug-and-Play philosophy is quite appealing. Vendors have made progress toward this goal but have faced various challenges that still need to be addressed.

The success of Open RAN (Radio Access Network) is a topic of debate with varying opinions. However, it is widely acknowledged that integration in a multi-vendor space presents a significant challenge and needs to be addressed.

A crucial factor for a vendor's successful entry into Open RAN is the speed at which they could roll out their first product release. This involves various components of Open RAN architecture, such as CU, DU, RU, and others. It is important that the solution adheres to Open RAN specifications – a challenge for new vendors that may not have extensive domain knowledge or the resources to keep up with the competition. Moreover, Open RAN specification might contain white spots for a precise interpretation and some areas covered on a high level, leaving the implementation details for the vendor to cope with (e.g., the semantics of feature parameters). This is where integration efforts come into play.

Read our whitepaper on the key Open RAN integration challenges and ways to address them

Silicon Supplier Ecosystems as key driver to make Radio Unit (RU) development more efficient

Radio Unit (RU) vendors are facing growing R&D challenges due to the increasing number of frequency bands and advanced antenna configurations. This has resulted in an exponential growth of their product portfolio, and, consequently, the aforementioned significant R&D challenges. Given that products are increasingly defined by software, having a robust software architecture is critical.

There are a few potential solutions to address this challenge.

One option is to explore existing open-source frameworks and solutions currently available on the market. Some vendors may choose to begin with this approach.

Another alternative is to seek assistance from a silicon supplier ecosystem. This term refers to more than just software components as the silicon supplier ecosystem encompasses a comprehensive support package that includes reference architectures and software frameworks, support assistance, evaluation hardware kits with related software stack, and trusted R&D partners. Such an option can be particularly useful when a vendor incorporates products obtained from silicon suppliers into their solution, as there may already be a pre-existing foundation to build upon.

Both options presented can aid in resolving the issues faced by Open RAN vendors, particularly those related to integration and interoperability. This is evident in the increasing number of Open RU available on the market. Vendors must decide on the best approach to take, which involves either developing from scratch and maintaining their own vertical software stack or relying on incorporated components. The decision should be strategic enough to address the challenge of meeting TTM deadlines, which becomes more pressing in the era of Open RAN's wider footprint in the Telecom industry. It is crucial for vendors to act promptly in order to stay ahead of the competition.

The importance of ecosystems is increasingly evident on the market. They provide a platform for sharing improvements, better implementations, and reliable support for Open RAN vendors. In a way, they offer not only a piece of hardware from silicon suppliers but also a foundation for evolving vendors’ products. This trend for ecosystems is likely to continue, as all stakeholders benefit from it. Moreover, this approach contributes to making Open RAN truly open.

Tietoevry’s O-RU M-Plane reference architecture

Tietoevry has extensive expertise in collaborating with silicon suppliers and possesses profound domain knowledge in the Telecom industry. As a result of these efforts, Tietoevry has become a trusted R&D partner within various ecosystems.

Through these partnerships, Tietoevry has developed a number of solutions, such as accelerators and software reference architectures, which can greatly enhance the development of vendors' products.

One of them is Mint – M-Plane reference software architecture for Open RAN RU. Find out more in the corresponding white paper.

Download our 5G Innovation: O-RAN M-Plane Framework Whitepaper

Let Tietoevry be your R&D partner to help you develop a more efficient portfolio of RU's.

Andriy Bilous
Account Executive, Tietoevry Create

With over a decade of experience in the IT industry, Andriy is a tech and business professional dedicated to supporting customers in the Telecom and Logistics domains focusing on AI/ML technology application in particular. He specializes in facilitating digital transformation, leading software research and development initiatives.


Andriy Bilous

Account Executive, Tietoevry Create

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