The current radio access network (RAN) market is highly concentrated with only a few suppliers offering closed products that third parties cannot access. This reduces competition and access to RAN data and delays network service innovation because network operators must rely on suppliers’ development cycles and life-cycle management.
Open supply chains create better virtual RAN solutions
Software-defined architectures are disrupting the supply chain for mobile network infrastructures, with massive economic impact on RANs as they scale to handle the growing volume of mobile traffic and the huge growth expected from new 5G use cases.
Communications service providers (CSPs) can innovate faster and deliver more versatile RAN functions by adopting virtualization and disaggregation technologies based on open industry standards like O-RAN and Telecom Infra Project (TIP) OpenRAN.
Horizontal cloud-native foundation
Disaggregating and virtualizing baseband units (BBU) into virtual central units (vCU) and virtual distributed units (vDU) allows CSPs to decouple BBU function from the underlying hardware. They can deliver these functions on general purpose hardware at aggregation centers or central offices as a software fabric that makes scaling capacity, automating workflows, and managing the solution life cycle more effective and efficient.
Network planning, management, and orchestration become more efficient and resource productivity increases when the same cloud environment is horizontally extended across the RAN, mobile core, and other functions. ACG Research cites that horizontal cloud resulted in 30% lower total cost of ownership (TCO) over five years compared with vertically integrated solutions.1