Accelerating RAN Intelligence in 5G (ARI-5G)
The Accelerating RAN Intelligence in 5G (ARI-5G) Consortium, led by TIP and six key partners, will implement, test, and demonstrate a standards-based RIC platform with specific software solutions (xAPPs and rAPPs) running on that platform. It builds upon TIP’s existing RAN Intelligence and Automation (RIA) Subgroup activity and leverages the Subgroup’s prioritized use cases as the initial software solutions to be developed for the standards-based RIC. The resulting solutions will be further enabled by the TIP Exchange Apps Marketplace where MNOs can, with high confidence, buy and deploy truly off-the-shelf solutions to various network challenges.
The project, which is backed by £2.4 million in funding from the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), will run for 18-months from early-2022 to mid-2023. During that time, it will validate the deployment of multi-vendor solutions with innovations in power consumption/energy efficiency and spectrum management, including massive MIMO optimisation suitable for 5G networks, accelerating successful commercialisation. ARI-5G activities will be conducted through the TIP-RIA Subgroup and will stay aligned with the RIA Subgroup’s other priorities including OMG and OpenRAN 2.x, 3.x releases.
- Telecom Infra Project (TIP) (Consortium Lead)
- West Midlands 5G (WM5G)
- BT’s Adastral Park (Ipswich, England)
- WM5G’s Birmingham Knowledge Quarter (Birmingham, England)
The project will be a first-of-its-kind for the industry, demonstrating the true value of open interfaces, with multiple vendors providing solutions traditionally only thought possible with one vendor. The success of this project, supported by DCMS, will show the potential of public-private partnerships where solutions are continually enhanced as new vendors bring in differentiated capabilities to market.
RAN Intelligence in 5G
Open RAN architectures permit the disaggregation of traditional base stations into subcomponents, which are then coordinated and controlled by a RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC). However, the RIC is not simply a controller; it is also a platform that allows specialised software from different vendors to be deployed for network management and optimisation, including through artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) techniques.
This approach enables incumbent and new vendors to design and provide interoperable solutions for RAN optimisation and efficiency, solving long-standing problems in mobile network optimisation where the onus fell on one vendor to solve all network issues. The RIC’s promotion of interoperable solutions is vital to solving complex connectivity problems, create new capabilities, and accelerate the deployment of disaggregated networks of the future. Success in resolving this challenge thus removes a significant barrier for individual and smaller companies to enter the vendor market and scale.
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