The vendor said that it will “actively support and drive discussions and development of network architecture evolution”
Ericsson has joined the O-RAN Alliance, which focuses on evolving the radio access network (RAN) architecture and orchestration toward open-source, rather than proprietary, implementations.
Ericsson said that joining the O-RAN Alliance “reinforces [its]commitment to network evolution, openness, and industry collaboration” and that it will “focus on the open interworking between RAN and network orchestration and automation, with emphasis on AI-enabled closed-loop automation and end-to-end optimization, with the aim of lowering operating cost and improve end-user performance.”
Its engagement with the O-RAN Alliance “is based on the future needs of mobile network service providers, and how networks must evolve to enable broad range of services with strong focus on quality, performance and security,” the equipment vendor added.
Ericsson said that it plans to focus on the upper-layer function, as specified in 3GPP, to provide interoperable multivendor profiles for specified interfaces between central RAN functions, which it said would result in faster deployment of 5G networks on a global scale.
“Ericsson is a strong supporter of openness in the industry, and the benefits this has on global ecosystems and innovations. Our ambition is to actively support and drive discussions and developments around future RAN architectures and open interfaces,” said Erik Ekudden, Ericsson SVP and CTO. “The O-RAN Alliance is an important coalition that creates an arena for these discussions, complementing other standardization and open-source initiatives in the industry which we are already active in.”
The O-RAN Alliance believes that it will be “impossible to bring service agility and cloud scale economics to the RAN without openness.”
“Open interfaces are essential to enable smaller vendors and operators to introduce their own services, or customize the network to suit their own needs,” the entity said. “Open interfaces also enable multi-vendor deployments, enabling a more competitive and vibrant supplier ecosystem. Similarly, open source software and hardware reference designs enable faster, more democratic and permission-less innovation.”
O-RAN Alliance was founded in February of last year by mobile operators AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DoCoMo and Orange. The management structure consists of an operating board made up of 15 operators and a Technical Steering Committee, and it currently has six technical workgroups, a TSC workgroup and an operator workgroup.
O-RAN members include AT&T, China Mobile, Orange, NTT DoCoMo, T-Mobile, China Telecom, Airtel, Jio, KT Corp, Singtel, SK Telecom, TIM, Telefonica, Telstra, Verizon, Dish, KDDI, SoftBank and Sprint. Its contributors include Amdocs, Aricent, Broadcom, Ciena, Cisco, Commscope, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Intel, JMA Wireless, Keysight Technologies, NEC, Nokia, Red Hat, Samsung, Viavi and ZTE.
In December 2018, O-RAN said it had started collaboration arrangements with the Linux Foundation to establish an open source software community for the creation of open source RAN software. Collaboration with the Linux Foundation would enable the creation of open source software supporting the O-RAN architecture and interfaces, the entity said.