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How Open RAN technology helps the development of 5G networks

How Open RAN technology helps the development of 5G networks

The future of the networks will undoubtedly be led by the tandem formed by the 5G and networks Open RAN. And it is that, 5G is the door to the multiple new technologies that will need a connection to match, and the Open RAN is, simply, the key to open it. You just have to look up and look around you to see how the internet has become indispensable for the so called digital society.

According to the numbers of the annual report carried out by We Are Social and Hootsuite, in 2020 there are already 4.54 billion of people who surf the net on a daily basis, that is, the 59% of the world’s population. A colossal figure from the era of hyperconnectivity that demonstrates the challenge facing network infrastructures.

In this line, Telefónica took the first step on September 1 with the activation of its 5G network in Spain. As well as the agreement with the well known Japanese multinational Rakuten Mobile for the creation of a large Open Ran network.

More efficient response to network demands

Today we are surrounded by millions of connected devices, but they will multiply in the coming years thanks to the IoT and technological advances. Very soon, the networks will face smart cities in which people will live who will increasingly demand more connection, who will go in connected vehicles whose components will be manufactured in Industry 4.0. They are prepared?

In this vast digital environment where the network is becoming more and more complex, it is vitally important that a open interfaces and architectures. This, which is the very definition of the nature of the Open RAN, will allow us to foster the creation of a new innovation ecosystemcomponent and service providers.

There are a huge variety of complicated pieces needed to create a network, and these are interconnected with complex software used to control them, along with the standards and protocols they need to support. Some pieces that make up a very expensive infrastructure, which requires a high and limiting investment in the telecommunications market.

To give you an idea, when a telecommunications company builds a wireless network, the RAN segment of the infrastructure reaches up to 80% of the total cost of the network. Almost all the investment goes into the implementation of the RAN equipment, so any reduction in this cost will be greatly appreciated in the total investment.

However, thanks to Open RAN, the costs of 5G deployment in 2020 and 2022 could decrease by fifty% if used with this new open network architecture. A considerable saving that will streamline everything and multiply the construction of infrastructures.

A more secure, flexible and accessible connection

By humanizing costs, the telecommunications sector will experience the emergence of new participants in the sector. This will mean that, for example, large operators can choose between different software components for these virtualized networks, which will make them much more safesince they will not have a single supplier.

as it says Henry White, CTIO Global de Telefónica, the more companies adopt the Open RAN model, the better. Technology and networks need to open up to this new ecosystem of innovation to advance hand in hand with consumer demands.

an architecture Open RAN, cloud based and open, means the starting signal for faster innovation on complex software and advanced functionalities. For example, aspects such as network automation, automatic optimization of radio resources or coordination of radio access nodes will be improved. Therefore, it will have a greater flexibility.

“Telefónica has been one of the early adopters of this technology and is playing a very active role in open networks. Our goal is to achieve up to 50% growth of 4G and 5G RAN by 2025.”

Enrique Blanco, Telefónica Global CTIO, Telefónica.com

In addition, Open RAN technology will also be very useful for coverage in rural or sparsely populated areas. For business reasons, since infrastructure construction is so expensive, doing it in places with low density meant minimal or even negative profitability for the operators. However, being a cheaper model, the connection will be more accessible.

Open RAN and its multiplier effect on 5G

At this point, it is difficult not to understand the reasons why the new architecture will be key for the early 5G. Thanks to its essence of Open Sourcethe Open RAN architecture will facilitate the incorporation of the necessary intelligence to maximize the automation and optimization of the networksessential for the next generation of connection.

As you have seen before, the significant percentage of savings that this entails will make it easier for there to be a richer and more competitive market. This will make the deployment of 5G much faster, with a simpler and faster implementation from which the user will benefit.

This innovative network architecture will serve to increase the qualities of 5G and, above all, generate new features to get the most out of that connection speed, bandwidth and minimum latency. Therefore, an increase in bandwidth and a greater use of cloud services it will improve the connection, make it more secure, flexible and efficient.

However, for Open RAN to work, all the industry needs to work together to overcome the challenges presented by the connection of the future. It is necessary to provide spaces for innovation, integration and certification of Open RAN solutions. Without this, it will be very difficult to create components and products.

“Collaboration with other operators to provide a secure environment for providers and encourage the industry to enter into mass scale deployments is essential.”

Enrique Blanco, Global CTIO of Telefónica, in Telelónica.com

In adigital society in which users demand greater bandwidth and increasingly sophisticated applications, the telecommunications sector, under great pressure, needs open technologies like this one. To release this pressure and respond to these needs of the digital society, collaboration is needed and all companies row towards the same horizon.