US telco software developer Mavenir is opening a new OpenRAN radio software development centre in Swindon, adding that it is ready to assist the UK government with its ambition to diversify the telecoms equipment supply chain.
The Radio Access Network (RAN) market has traditionally been dominated by a few major players who offer highly integrated cell sites comprising radio, hardware, and software. This approach has made it difficult for operators to mix and match innovations and has proved to be a significant barrier to entry for smaller vendors.
OpenRAN is a vendor-neutral approach with standardised designs that allow a variety of firms to supply hardware and software. Operators benefit from increased innovation from a wider range of suppliers, reduced costs and greater flexibility because the threat of vendor lock-in is reduced.
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Mavenir’s development facility will focus on software and system design for OpenRAN radio units that will broaden the future development of OpenRAN systems. One of the key projects is the creation of open source software for Open RAN Remote Radio Units (RRU) that will allow RRUs in different versions and frequencies to be managed via a single interface.
This allows operators to use the same management software for multiple RRUs, regardless of supplier, reducing complexity and enabling interoperability. Upgrades will be simpler and it will be easer to roll out OpenRAN-based networks at scale.
“This work is another step in validating the principles of OpenRAN whilst simplifying element integration into operator networks through the use of a common RRU interface,” says Mikael Rylander, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Mavenir.
“We are providing tools and open-source software to the RRU community in order to let them focus on their unique strengths and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the digital and analog performance parts of the Radio. We aim to simplify interoperability across all ORAN interfaces, including Orchestration and Maintenance (O&M) capabilities.”
The UK government has taken an interest because it believes OpenRAN gear will ensure the UK can meet its connectivity targets following the decision to ban Huawei from the rollout of 5G.
As an American company, Mavenir hopes to capitalise on this demand both in the UK and in other countries. It already has a centre of excellence for Multi Radio Access Technology in Cambridge, having also bought ip.access, and says it is ready to help the government’s vendor diversification strategy.
“Mavenir supports the UK’s ambition to create a level playing field that enables all vendors to compete on the merits of their products. We stand ready to play an active role ourselves and to help other suppliers contribute towards to the Government’s objective of accelerating the adoption of OpenRAN,” said Stefano Cantarelli, Mavenir’s UK-based Chief Marketing Officer.
“We also support the Taskforce’s conclusion that internationally-agreed open and interoperable standards are a key enabler and the recognition that the G7 Digital Track discussions provide an ideal opportunity for the UK to lead like-minded countries towards this objective. OpenRAN can enable a very positive future for the telecoms sector, and its customers and allow the UK and UK companies to take a leading role in the global industry.”
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