Open RAN (Radio Access Network)

Developing a sustainable framework for the deployment and innovation of Open RAN across ecosystems

About

Image of a digital cloudThe goal of this Industry Connections activity is to develop a structured sustainable framework/guideline to address the deployment, interoperability, configuration and fault management, and performance issues. The O-RAN architecture is designed to enable next generation RAN (Radio Access Network) infrastructures. It is designed with the principles of intelligence, virtualization, and disaggregation.

In an Open RAN environment, the traditional gNB or eNB (base station) is disaggregated into three main building blocks:

  • The Radio Unit (RU)
  • The Distributed Unit (DU)
  • The Centralized Unit (CU)

The RU is where the radio frequency signals are transmitted, received, amplified, and digitized. The RU includes the radio, lower physical layer, and fronthaul (eCPRI) interfaces toward a DU. The DU contains the upper physical layer as well as Layer 2 protocol stacks. The DU and CU are the computational parts of the base station, which send the digitized radio signal into the network. The DU is physically located at or near the RU whereas the CU can be located nearer the core or be co-located with the DU.

The key concept of Open RAN is opening the protocols and interfaces between these various building blocks (radios, hardware, and software) in the RAN. The O-RAN ALLIANCE has defined 11 different interfaces within the RAN including those for:

  • Fronthaul between the RU and the DU
  • Mid-haul between the DU and the CU
  • Backhaul connecting the RAN to the core

There are also different specifications developed by various standards organizations that are applicable to the interfaces between the different blocks.

The split architecture poses issues for applications that have latency requirements below 1 msec.

Because there are various standards pertaining to interface use cases, traffic models, and deployment scenarios, some confusion may exist in the marketplace.

The opening of the interfaces could have an impact on the overall performance of the network and present interoperability issues.
The openness with different vendors also could present challenges with the fault management and configuration management.
The framework/guideline is intended to be flexible, adaptable, scalable, and formulaic and can be extended for different evolving ecosystems and may be used by governments, industry, and academia.

Get Involved

We welcome new participants from large and small corporations, academia, industry, and government agencies that are interested in the Open RAN (Radio Access Network) Industry Connections activity. Members will include but are not limited to:

  • Service providers
  • Semiconductor manufacturers
  • OEMS
  • Original Design Manufacturers (ODMS)
  • Telcos
  • Technology providers  

Industry Outcomes

Proposed deliverables and outcomes from this Industry Connections activity may include documents (e.g., white papers, reports), proposals for standards, conferences, and workshops, etc. The deliverables of this activity will be:

  • Practice guide/framework for various deployment scenarios
  • Guidelines/specifications for the configuration and fault management
  • Guidelines/specifications for the management interface
  • Test bed and proof of concept
  • Use case guide (mapping the use cases)
  • Guidelines for different implementations
  • Guidelines to help ensure proper interoperability and compliance
  • Test beds for compliance and interoperability verification
  • New PARs based on the identification of issues
  • Workshops and events
  • Webinars
  • Collaboration initiatives with other organizations 
     

How to Participate

To join the Open RAN (Radio Access Network) Industry Connections activity, please express your interest by sending an inquiry to:

Additional Contact