Mobile network operators are facing strong pressures to evolve their businesses and operations for profitable growth and differentiation. Explosive demand for bandwidth persists, while ARPU pressures mount due to competition and limited service innovation. Addressing these challenges requires industry innovation focused on delivering new revenue-generating services based on a more flexible and agile service delivery environment, while reducing Capex and Opex.
Innovations such as network function virtualization have laid the groundwork for a new fundamental architecture to emerge. While many functions of a mobile network are being virtualized, including the Evolved Packet Core (EPC), IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS), the Gateway Internet LAN (Gi-LAN) and data transport, the radio access network represents the final domain for disaggregation and virtualization.
It facilitates a true end-to-end, software-defined mobile network. An open, standards-based virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN) is a key enabler for this new architecture and the creation of a dynamic multi-vendor ecosystem. Together, they deliver an economical and flexible platform that satisfies a variety of use cases and applications.
While there is significant innovation happening in and around open vRAN today, there are considerable gaps and challenges that make it difficult to assemble end-to-end solutions, putting heavy burden back on operators and startups with limited scope. We believe it is the ideal time to align and collaborate to solve the key challenges to deliver innovative RAN solutions ready for commercial deployment.
Today, with more than 30 years of experience building the largest multi-service, open IP networks in the world, Cisco is announcing plans to form a multi-vendor ecosystem designed to address these issues and accelerate the viability and adoption of Open vRAN solutions.
Cisco is working with ecosystem vendors who have confirmed plans to join the initiative including Altiostar, Aricent, Intel, Mavenir, Phazr, Red Hat and Tech Mahindra to spur rapid innovation in both hardware and software domains.
Through this initiative, Cisco and the other ecosystem parties plan to focus on assembling viable solutions that build on an open and modular architecture, drawing from existing industry efforts and that will support a variety of use cases. The work of this ecosystem will be customer-driven, leveraging input from top worldwide operators such as Reliance Jio. Priorities include activities that simplify the transition to Open vRAN and software-defined mobile networks including:
- Testing and integration
- Solutions validation
- Transport evolution
- Publishing performance benchmarks
- Running Proof of Concepts (POC)
Coordinating roadmaps for end-to-end solutions
Creating and validating network management templates, and more
“In collaboration with the ecosystem vendors, we aim to make the Radio Access Network more open and flexible, enabling the deployment of additional value-add mobile services at the network edge,” said Tareq Amin, senior vice president, Technology Development and Automation, Reliance Jio. “Through this innovation and collaboration we will be able to deliver a better user experience for our customers.”
“We believe it is an ideal time to align and collaborate on these issues to deliver innovative solutions ready for commercial deployment,” said Yvette Kanouff, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Service Provider Business. “Together with the ecosystem parties, we’re making leaps forward in developing a customer-centric ecosystem focused on accelerating innovation and enabling new business models to dramatically lower costs, add capacity and improve network performance.”
Cisco is leading the disruption in the industry with our technology innovations in systems, silicon, optics and security, and our unrivalled expertise in mass-scale networking, automation, optical, cable access, video, and mobility. Together with our portfolio of professional services, we can enable service providers and media and web companies to reduce cost and complexity, help secure their networks and grow revenue.