True innovation is never an individual achievement. Imagine, for example, if no one had followed Henry Ford into the automotive industry.
No, innovation is an evolution fueled by competitive forces and multiple perspectives. 5G will be no exception. 5G service providers can’t wait for one or two companies to solve the challenges of tomorrow, whether it’s building out 5G radio access networks (RAN) or creating the next generation of mobile services such as virtual reality gaming or autonomous vehicles. In recognition of this, the telecommunications industry is “opening up” the traditionally closed RAN world. Virtualization, clouds, and containers have brought a new world of innovation to the mobile core network. Now that innovation is extending to the network edge, multi-access edge computing (MEC), and Open RAN.
Open RAN is a highly flexible, highly scalable architecture that allows mobile operators to deploy RAN and edge infrastructure using virtualized and decentralized components. Open RAN solutions completely change the economics and the time to innovation for 5G network services. Open RAN solutions enable mobile operators to choose which vendors to deploy in their network while providing more options to scale-out RAN resources where they are needed and in precisely the right amounts.
Open RAN Opens Up New Possibilities
Open RAN brings game-changing benefits to MNOs as they look to build out their 5G networks and create new revenue-generating services:
Open RAN solutions should be just that, open, whether it’s supporting open standards or being open to innovative ideas from visionary partners. Open architectures provide operators with options to choose whom they want to work with for the various RAN functions. It gives operators choice and flexibility and provides an attractive path to deploying best-of-breed solutions offered by many innovative RAN players, small or big.
Time-to-market for new services is critical to 5G revenue generation, but what happens if your RAN vendor can’t support the new services you have planned? In effect, the RAN vendor now becomes the chokepoint for innovation, limiting what can be done and when. Open RAN solutions bring a world of innovation to the table beyond traditional telecommunications vendors, allowing MNOs to tap into automation, AI, big data, cloud computing, and more.
Flexible deployment options
Virtualizing the RAN enables new centralized and decentralized deployment models that provide operators with flexibility regarding where to deploy the distributed unit (DU) and centralized unit (CU). This allows operators to determine the most cost-effective and scalable deployment models.
A more secure supply chain
Telcos have long understood the value of a failsafe architecture, but what about a failsafe supply chain? If your proprietary RAN vendor experiences a supply chain issue or, worse, goes out of business, the alternative isn’t as simple as turning to another proprietary RAN vendor. With an Open RAN architecture, MNOs have more choices and can buy RAN solutions from a wide field of vendors much as they do for compute or storage, which brings us to the supply chain.
Open RAN Solutions from Dell Technologies
The telecom industry has been discussing the above challenges and Open RAN’s value for some time now. Few companies understand the importance of being open as well as Dell Technologies. No one partner can solve every problem, but they can help you find solutions. At Dell, that means bringing the right partners together to create a unique solution, aiding in the deployment of new RAN equipment, or providing turnkey services so that operators can focus on their customers.
Dell Technologies is stepping up to fill that gap in the industry by joining forces with other leading technology vendors to deliver Open RAN solutions to MNOs worldwide. As part of our commitment to drive rapid adoption of 5G, we’ve put our resources and relationships to work to improve the total cost of ownership of RAN equipment, accelerate RAN innovation through automation and cloudification, and support the creation of exciting new 5G services. We are committed to new telco-grade servers and solutions that address the need for an open, scalable, flexible, and rapidly deployable RAN in a wide variety of environments.
Just as 5G opens a world of possibilities to mobile users, Open RAN opens a world of innovation to 5G service providers. In future blog posts, I’ll set out the challenges facing Open RAN implementations, and the solutions Dell and our partners bring to address those challenges.