Open RAN is the separation of software functionality from the underlying hardware. This is called “disaggregation.” It is also the process of defining functional blocks in the network and clearly and precisely specifying the interfaces between those functional blocks. Most who study such things believe it to be true. But before we break out the Champaign, we should be a bit more circumspect and evaluate the threats to Open RAN. What might prevent Open RAN from reaching its potential?
RIMEDO Labs Blog
Open RAN, as a new approach to building mobile networks, offers faster innovation and the possibility of lowering costs. This whitepaper provides an overview of Open RAN in general, and O-RAN specifically. The O-RAN concept, relevant standardization, and ecosystem players are introduced. The architecture as defined by the O-RAN Alliance is described. Near-Real-Time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) along with the idea of xApps is discussed. The use cases for O-RAN are overviewed with a particular focus on Traffic Steering.
Like almost everything in Telecom's, Open RAN is complicated. It's not a single idea. It's not a single product or service. It's not an optimization technique or path towards improved efficiency. It’s hardly even an agreed term. Open RAN is essentially 2 foundational ideas: 1) The disaggregation of network functionality from the underlying hardware. 2) The specification of discrete functional blocks having well-defined interfaces. In other words, modularity.
According to 3GPP the prioritization process on Rel-18 features should be completed by the end of 2021 - with the Rel-18 Package Approval scheduled for December 2021. As of now, the decisions are still focused on the Rel-17 schedule. Meanwhile, some Rel-18 Stage 1 studies are underway.