Collaboration implies common ground—that is, shared ideas or interests. In the past, collaboration also implied a shared physical space where people and their ideas could come together. In today’s hyperconnected world, however, collaboration can now take place across continents. And when you open the entire world to the possibility of collaboration, the world of what’s possible becomes exponentially larger.
Which brings us to some very big news: the collaboration taking place between NTT DOCOMO and Dell Technologies around Open RAN (O-RAN) technology. O-RAN is one of those ideas that thrives on collaboration. By opening the radio access network (RAN) to open-source software, O-RAN also opens up the market to more vendors and more solutions. The challenge up until now hasn’t been finding willing collaborators. Rather, it’s been finding somewhere for all that collaboration and testing to take place so the industry can actually benefit from it. And that’s where OREX and OTEL come in.
OREX stands for Open RAN Ecosystem Experience and is the brainchild of Japan’s leading mobile services provider, NTT DOCOMO. With OREX, NTT DOCOMO is packaging its extensive experience in O-RAN technology to help other communications service providers (CSPs) around the world create and accelerate their own O-RAN solutions. If that mission sounds familiar, it should: Dell’s own Open Telecom Ecosystems Lab (OTEL) shares a similar goal. OTEL allows CSPs, software vendors and systems integrators to use our state-of-the-art testing environment from anywhere in the world through remote, secure, high-speed connectivity. Put two very experienced technology accelerators like OREX and OTEL together, and you get the future – faster.
This is what the future of O-RAN looks like. It’s global leaders coming together through the common ground of opening mobile communications to more innovation and more partners. As a CSP, NTT DOCOMO brings a valuable perspective on what it takes to manage and deliver O-RAN solutions in the real world. As a global IT company, Dell has a unique perspective on what it takes to build and implement those solutions. Bringing those viewpoints together is important because it ensures collaboration with an eye toward future consumption. In other words, there’s a consumable product at the end of the rainbow and not just a pot of golden rules and configuration.
OTEL isn’t the only O-RAN testing facility in the world, of course. But it is one of the few lab environments that focuses on the business side of O-RAN technology. We’re not just doing performance testing; we’re testing to see if those solutions will perform well in the market. Will they be reliable enough to support mission-critical applications? Can they be deployed in less-than-hospitable edge environments? Are they flexible enough to support a change in hardware or software vendors down the road? These are the kind of questions businesses, rather than research scientists, ask themselves.
So, what does all this mean if you’re a CSP considering O-RAN for your future? It means you’re not alone. It means you can find common ground with collaborators around the world without leaving the comfort and safety of your own lab. It means you don’t have to haul your equipment to a university campus for the next plugfest to test your ideas. (By extension, if you’re planning a plugfest, it means you can run it remotely at OTEL so you don’t have to temporarily set up camp at a campus.) And, if you’re a services integrator or software vendor, it means you’re invited to the table to help build the future of 5G together without having to leave your own table.
Consider this your invitation. We built OREX and OTEL to build a better future for CSPs, but we can’t build that future without you. Join us.