by TIP News
During Fyuz2022, the community discussed some of the key aspects of the OpenRAN industry and the importance of an industry-led approach to accelerate the adoption of disaggregated networks in general and OpenRAN in particular; a lot has happened since then. The key takeaways were taken, and each sub-group developed its technical strategy based on the industry gaps and needs.
The project group continued its mission to accelerate innovation and commercialization in the RAN domain with multi-vendor interoperable products and solutions that are easy to integrate with the operator’s network across different deployment scenarios.
The Project Group kicked off Release 3.0 of the Technical Requirements; the Maro and Small Cell subgroups developed End-To-End solution blueprints covering several deployment scenarios, including a Multi-Operator Radio Access Network (MORAN) configuration; the subgroups managed to issue Bronze badges taking the overall products on TIP exchange to over 65, testings and validation across the subgroups and much more.
The Project Group (PG) shared the detailed technical requirements, developed by the MOU group, with the broader operators’ community in May 2023 for feedback, and we have just received the vendor responses and are currently drawing the technical roadmap based on the feedback from the operators, vendors, Service Integrators and the wider community.
Release 3.0 significantly focuses on the security aspects and challenges introduced by the disaggregated O-RAN architecture. The release also focused on Energy Efficiency; additional requirements are added across several streams, including Cloud Infrastructure, O-CU/O-DU, RAN features, and RIC use cases. The Energy Efficiency RIC use case in Release 2 is now split into four use cases: (1) Carrier and Cell Switch Off/On, (2) RF Channel Reconfiguration Off/On, (3) Advanced Sleep Mode and (4) O-Cloud Resource Energy Saving Mode. Additional requirements are introduced for the E2 functionalities. Open API-related requirements have been added to allow xApps to exploit functionalities of the near-RT RIC platform. Conflict mitigation requirements and O2-related requirements are extended.
Finally, Enhanced requirements on life-cycle management (LCM), scalability, availability, and Energy Efficiency are added along with requirements on the CU and DU.
In addition to adding Radio specifications and bands to the detailed requirements and badging 10+ products, the O-RU subgroup is creating Open-Fronthaul (O-FH) configurations. Integrating the O-FH has always been a challenge ever since OpenRAN existed. The different deployment scenarios and the wide-ranging O-FH options within the O-RAN standards made a compounded challenge by prolonging the integration time and fragmenting the RU/CU/DU industry. The subgroup is bringing industry leaders together to define distinct O-FH profiles based on specific deployment scenarios to reduce the O-RU integration time and work towards a “Plug-n-Play” O-RU integration.
CU & DU Subgroup
The subgroup expanded the white-box CU/DU scope to address O-Cloud requirements by aggregating and harmonizing O-Cloud capabilities and functionalities. In addition to that, the subgroup focuses on testing and validating O-Cloud infra, developing test methodologies and plans, and producing product blueprints for various O-Cloud architectures.
The test efforts address several key areas, including 1)the Impact of the virtualization layer on performance: Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK), Single Route Input/Output Virtualization (SR-IOV), real-time RAN support, and internal and external interruption handling 2) Resource allocation within and across logical virtual pools, auto-scaling policies responding to dynamic traffic requirements, 3)Redundancy and reliability of O-Cloud architecture, 4)Acceleration Abstraction Layer (AAL) and Time-synchronization support throughout O-Cloud architecture, and 5)Resource pooling efficiency at far edge, regional and national centre, and how it impacts overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
The OpenRan Orchestration & Lifecycle Management Automation (ROMA) subgroup brings together ecosystem participants who are actively engaged in testing, trials, and developing standards and open-source projects. This collaborative effort aims to showcase the progress made thus far and identify areas that demand collective attention. A dynamic exchange of ideas and insights drives the Open RAN industry forward.
One of the primary challenges the ROMA subgroup faces is the increasing complexity that arises from moving RAN workloads to virtualized and containerized platforms. To address this, the subgroup underscores the critical importance of orchestration and automation. These tools are not just convenient but essential for managing the intricacies that come with this shift.
The subgroup community are developing the ROMA Release 3.0 architecture proposing an evolution of the ROMA Release 2.0 reference-based architecture towards a Service-Based Management Architecture (SBMA), where management and orchestration services can be dynamically registered and discovered.
ROMA2.0 was a reference-based architecture; at the time, standards were not ready for a Service-based Architecture at the SMO layer. The OpenRAN Industry organizations and SDOs have identified various integration and scalability challenges with reference-based SMO architecture. To provide a better architecture framework, operators are required to adopt novel architecture approaches in the orchestration group.
The service-based paradigm, which is about designing software architectures using API based on web-based technology, is a potential facilitator in this respect. Originally conceived for the 5G Core (5GC), this architectural style can also be applied to the OSS layer, resulting in an SBMA Architecture. The SBMA consists of replacing traditional management entities (e.g., Network Managers) with a federated set of management functions that provide services to each other using REST APIs.
The subgroup will release two deliverables early next year, 1) Release 3.0 MVP architecture and requirements and 2) API and Data Model Requirements; both are based on an SBMA architecture and will outline the requirements for Network Slicing automation and orchestration.
The Radio Intelligence & Automation (RIA) subgroup focuses on RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) Use Cases by defining Use Case requirements and developing the Use Case test plans. The subgroup participants collaborate to enable the community to develop x/rApps and set the RIC Platform requirements.
The current spotlight is on the deployment strategies for both brownfield and greenfield operators as they embrace RIC platforms and x/rApps. These discussions delve into crucial aspects such as deployment readiness, interface testing, and complexity management, offering operators valuable insights into navigating the intricacies of RIC implementation. Furthermore, a significant emphasis is placed on the role of public-private collaboration in accelerating the adoption of RICs and x/rApps. This collaborative approach aims to pave the way for enhanced efficiency and innovation in the realm of RICs, ultimately driving the evolution of telecommunications infrastructure.
On the 14th of September 2023, the Department of Science Innovation & Technology (DSIT) in the UK announced that Project ARIANE (Accelerating RAN Intelligence across Network Ecosystems) is one of the Open Networks Ecosystem (ONE) competition winners to further the UK cause for RAN Intelligence and software development. ARIANE includes 9 partners: TIP, Accenture, Amdocs UK Limited, Arqit UK, BT Group plc, HCL Technologies, Net Reply UK, Viavi Solutions UK, and VMware, and will be supported by Adtran.
The consortium will conduct carrier-grade simulated testing of 3 highlighted xAPPs/rAPP use cases over multiple RIC platforms – energy reduction, advanced traffic steering, and dynamic Quality of Service (QoS) based resource allocation. The subgroup has defined all of the requirements for the intended Use Cases and will monitor the progress of the project execution.
Since last year, the ARI-5G has been in progress. The ARI-5G project is a consortium led by TIP and five key partners (Amdocs, Accelleran, Attocore, BT, and VIAVI) to implement, test, and demonstrate a standards-based RIC platform with specific software solutions (xAPPs and rAPPs) running on that platform. The project aims to validate the deployment of multi-vendor solutions with innovations in power consumption/energy efficiency and spectrum management, including massive MIMO optimization suitable for 5G networks. The project is backed by £2.4 million in funding from the UK government’s Department for DSIT and is currently in progress and will continue until early 2024.
Open RAN has moved from concept to reality. Still, the question now is how can organizations like TIP and the broader industry collaborate effectively to expedite their deployment by operators worldwide. Embracing Open RAN presents a plethora of challenges, particularly in terms of business and operational transformation.
The upcoming Open RAN Summits at Fyuz offer a unique opportunity to reflect on the pivotal year that brought this groundbreaking technology to the forefront. Looking ahead to 2024, we will explore the necessary steps to maintain momentum and what TIP is doing in the Open RAN and its sub-groups. An increase in deployments doesn’t just measure success in this context; it also hinges on introducing innovative products and solutions that can facilitate continued Open RAN adoption by service providers across the globe.
Join us as we delve into these crucial discussions and chart the course for Open RAN’s future. We have in-person and virtual tickets available here: https://www.fyuz.events/