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ORAN -Why,What,When?

Now question here comes in mind Why, What , When ORAN.


Most of the CAPEX required to build a wireless network is related to the RAN segment, reaching as high as 80% of the total network cost. Any reduction in the RAN equipment cost will significantly help the bottom line of wireless operators as they struggle to cope with the challenges of ever increasing mobile traffic and flat revenues. So the deployment cost could drop if if an open architecture is used. Operators are also realizing that opening up the RAN for only 5G will not reduce the overall network cost. The operators believe that modernizing their legacy networks, in addition to deploying 5G, will reduce their overall network OPEX as they will have one unified network to run and will be able to make time and cost-saving remote upgrades to the overall site.

What is different types of RAN ?

C RAN- It is a deployment model where a BBU that was doing digital processing could be located in a data centre and not on the site itself – under the radio or RRH (remote radio head unit) where the radio processing was happening – and was instead connected to the baseband unit via a dedicated high-bandwidth connection. The C-RAN required a new fronthaul interface, and various industry standards such as the Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) and the Next Generation Fronthaul Interface (NGFI) evolved to enable these new interfaces between the radios and baseband.

V RAN- With vRAN, the proprietary hardware remains as it is, but the BBU gets replaced by a COTS server rather than proprietary hardware. The software that runs on the BBU is virtualized to run on any COTS server. The proprietary interfaces remain as they are.

So its very important to understand that VRAN is not necessarily ORAN. VRAN still contains proprietary interfaces and purpose-built hardware.

Whereas Open RAN is a movement to define and build 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G RAN solutions based on a general-purpose, vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology. Open RAN Is the disaggregation of hardware and software: the RRU / RRH hardware becomes a COTS hardware that can be purchased from any OEM or RAN hardware vendor. The BBU is the same as in the case of vRAN: COTS server + vendor’s proprietary software with virtualized functions.

The Open RAN vision is that the RAN is open within all aspects, with the interfaces and operating software separating the RAN control plane from the user plane, building a modular base station software stack that operates on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware The software enabled Open RAN network architecture enables a “white box” RAN hardware – meaning that baseband units, radio units and remote radio heads can be assembled from any vendor and managed by Open RAN software to form a truly interoperable and open network.

Figure below represents the working of ORAN Deployment Model.

When ORAN?

The Open RAN TIP group in 2016 has brought together operators, traditional equipment vendors and startups that are using open source technologies and open approaches to get the solution for high costs in the telecom equipment required during deployment.

As part of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), Facebook is working with telecom service providers and operators to accelerate innovation, new technology, to help the industry build the networks of the future. Through this program, Facebook is working with operators in areas that have not been covered with any kind of communication services in various geographies throughout the globe. The cost attractions of Open RAN enabled by interoperability could prove important in such diversified markets from high-income to low-income markets.

The O-RAN Alliance was formed after the merger of the C-RAN alliance and XRAN. The O-RAN Alliance publishes new RAN specifications, releases open software for the RAN, and supports its members in integration and testing of their implementations.