Sunday, July 8, 2018

O-RAN approves architecture, sets WGs, elects AT&T's Fuetsch as chair

The O-RAN Alliance has approved its overall O-RAN architecture plan and established an initial set of seven working groups to drive the work forward. These are:

WG1: Use Cases & Overall Architecture
WG2: Radio Intelligent Controller (RIC) (non-Real Time) & A1 Interface
WG3: RIC (near-Real Time) & E2 Interface
WG4: Open Fronthaul (FH) Interface
WG5: Stack Reference Design and F1/V1/E1/X2
WG6: Cloudification and orchestration
WG7: White Box Hardware

At its recent meeting at Mobile World Congress Shanghai, the O-RAN Alliance also elected Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs, as chair of the Board. In addition, Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, was appointed as Operations Officer; and Bharti Airtel, China Telecom, KT, Singtel, SK telecom, Telefonica, and Telstra were approved as new Board members. This expands the number of Board Directors to 12.

“We are on a journey to transform the way that communications networks are built,” said Andre Fuetsch, chairman of the O-RAN Alliance and president, AT&T Labs. “Last year in AT&T we reached virtualisation of 55% of our core network, and we joined the industry in launching ONAP to extend the reach of open virtualisation and automation. The Open Networking Foundation is extending virtualisation beyond the core, to re-architect the central office and access technology. And now we are taking the next major step of this journey, to open and virtualise global wireless networks, with the founding and expansion of the O-RAN Alliance. The O-RAN Alliance will drive intelligent, open software-defined networks and virtualisation elements that will help 5G networks achieve their full potential and unlock new experiences for consumers and businesses around the world.”
“To realise the full potential of 5G, it is essential that we evolve the full end-to-end system architecture to be more flexible, agile and efficient.  We look forward now to intensifying the work with our industry partners in the O-RAN Alliance to push more openness, intelligence and programmability into the radio access network and accelerate the transformation of mobile networks,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, Operations Officer of the O-RAN Alliance and SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom.

xRAN Forum merges with C-RAN Alliance, seeking innovation in radio access

Two industry organizations are combining their efforts to drive innovation in radio access networks.

The xRAN Forum will merge with the C-RAN Alliance to form the ORAN Alliance, which is backed by AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, and Orange.

  • The key principles of the ORAN Alliance include:
  • Leading the industry towards open, interoperable interfaces, RAN virtualization, and big data enabled RAN intelligence.
  • Maximizing the use of common-off-the-shelf hardware and merchant silicon and minimizing proprietary hardware.
  • Specifying APIs and interfaces, driving standards to adopt them as appropriate, and exploring open source where appropriate.

“xRAN Forum members have made excellent progress this year and we expect completion of the first open, interoperable front haul specification in March,” said Dr. Sachin Katti, Professor at Stanford University and Director of the xRAN Forum. “We are advancing both a southbound interface specification to an open RAN and a northbound interface specification, delivering applications access to rich controller functions and abstracted RAN control. Going forward, we believe there will be strong, complimentary collaboration with our new colleagues from the C-RAN Alliance.”

“The xRAN Forum was created to accelerate the delivery of products that support a common, open architecture and standardized interfaces that we, as operators, view as the foundation of our next-generation wireless infrastructure,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Research & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom. “xRAN members have made strong progress this year, and we are confident that by building on the xRAN architecture in combination with the RAN virtualization focus brought by the C-RAN Alliance, we are well positioned to achieve the joint objectives of the ORAN Alliance.”

"Our industry is approaching an inflection point, where increasing infrastructure virtualization will combine with embedded intelligence to deliver more agile services and advanced capabilities to our customers. The xRAN Forum has been at the forefront of defining the next generation RAN architecture for this transformation," said Andre Fuetsch, CTO and President AT&T Labs. "This is a global change that will impact all network operators. It will be accelerated by the merger of the xRAN Forum and the C-RAN Alliance into the ORAN Alliance, which promises to be a strong global forum."

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