Accelerating the Growth of 5G Networks with Open RAN

BrandPost By Vish Nandlall
Mar 10, 2021
AnalyticsBig Data

smart cities verticals
Credit: Dell Technologies

Across a wide range of industries, business strategists are focusing sharply on the unprecedented digital transformation opportunities that are arising with the transition to fifth-generation networks. There is good reason for all the excitement. While 4G networks connected your smartphone to streaming video, 5G will radically reshape how we connect the physical to the digital world. 5G will form the fabric of smart cities, supporting communications between vehicles, and between vehicles and roadside infrastructure. Smart factories, retail fulfillment centers and shipping ports will connect workers with robots, forming collaborative workflows with the ability to adapt to frequent changes in tasks. Along the way, 5G will drive new consumer experiences, such as augmented and virtual reality, cloud-assisted gaming, and real-time language translation.

This tectonic shift cannot be delivered through incremental gains — building the flexible infrastructure that will enable the operation and management of 5G networks will require a transformation to cloud aligned technologies and introduction of new edge compute capacity. This is a significant opportunity for today’s communication service providers. To move forward into a world of 5G-enabled services, CSPs must move beyond the limitations of today’s wireless networks to more flexible, automated, and open technology. Enter Open RAN.

Open RAN is focused on the development and delivery of radio access network (RAN) equipment based on open standards and open architectures. This move to interoperable, open technologies will allow for faster and more cost-effective deployment of 5G networks, which draw on innovative products and solutions from a broad ecosystem of vendors.

Leading the way to Open RAN

Under a recently announced initiative, NTT DOCOMO, Japan’s largest telecommunications company, is working with a dozen global technology leaders — including Dell Technologies, Intel and VMware — to accelerate the move to open, interoperable technologies for 5G networks.

The new ecosystem will build on the work of the O-RAN Alliance, which NTT DOCOMO has led since its launch in early 2018. The alliance has been developing specifications and promoting products that allow operators to more freely combine disaggregated base-station equipment.

NTT DOCOMO is working to package best-of-breed RAN technologies and to introduce, operate and manage them based on demands from operators considering Open RAN. It will also develop virtualized RAN (vRAN) with high flexibility and scalability to further drive Open RAN, targeting commercialization in 2022. And in the future, it will continue to cooperate with various industry partners to accelerate wide adoption of open networks, especially O-RAN and vRAN, that can cater to the diversifying needs of the industry with flexible and agile solutions.

“These new technologies like Open RAN are going to allow for faster deployment, particularly in rural networks.”

— Michael Dell, Founder and CEO, Dell Technologies

Source: Michael Dell, 2020 INCOMPAS Show Keynote Address

The Dell Technologies view

At Dell Technologies, we are actively supporting the efforts of the Open RAN movement. In addition to our work with the 5G Open RAN Ecosystem, Dell Technologies is an essential hardware platform provider for the NTT O-RAN ecosystem initiative.

Our involvement with this global movement recognizes that Open RAN technologies are one of the keys to accelerating the deployment of 5G networks. They will enable a broad range of technology vendors to bring innovation to the telecom industry, while giving mobile network operators the assurance that 5G equipment will be interoperable regardless of its origin.

To learn more

For a closer look at what it takes to capture the 5G mobile opportunity, see the “Dell Technologies and 5G” white paper.

Explore more 5G solutions from Dell Technologies and Intel.