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From MWC Barcelona to MWC Shanghai this year, the ORAN Alliance has evolved from five operators to twelve operators.
Li Zhengmao, vice president of China Mobile, said: “Since Barcelona MWC2018, ORAN has achieved gratifying development and received more and more attention from all parties. It is not only the traditional leader of the industry, but also many startups and SEMs. After showing the inaugural meeting, I believe that ORAN's Wheels will accelerate all the time, gather more power for the development of next-generation wireless communication networks, promote industrial prosperity, and will be 5G in the next few years. The deployment makes a vital contribution."
ORAN is recognized
In fact, at the beginning of the establishment of the ORAN Alliance, goals such as openness, open source, and intelligence were established. With the four-month efforts of the ORAN Alliance, these targets have been recognized by more and more operators. The participating operators are also added to China Mobile, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Japan NTT DOCOMO and French Orange. India Bharti Airtel, China Telecom, South Korea SKT and KT, Singapore Singtel, Spain Telefonica and Australia Telstra seven operators.
In particular, in addition to operators, there are currently more than a dozen devices/hardware/chip vendors involved in ORAN work.
In this regard, Cui Chunfeng, director of the China Mobile Research Institute Green Communication Technology Research Center, once told C114 that ORAN not only changed the traditional format, but also made the industry more competitive, which made enterprises recognize the ORAN model.
Cui Chunfeng believes that the changes brought by ORAN are in three aspects. First, ORAN will refine the industrial division of wireless device R&D and improve the overall efficiency and competitiveness of the industry. With the introduction of a large number of standardized interfaces, vendors can choose the part of their focus on R&D. Software modules, hardware modules, NFVI platforms and other aspects will be more professional, and the division of labor is more clear. Due to this division of labor, a single device manufacturer participating in the development of wireless devices will not require comprehensive research and development capabilities from software to hardware. A multi-vendor collaboration and integration ultimately provides a complete solution.
Secondly, reduce the R&D investment of participating companies through the reuse and sharing of software open source and hardware reference designs. It is easy for members to conduct secondary research and development based on open source software and hardware reference designs to form the final product. Utilize the power of the alliance to achieve the most basic functions and processes, and each member can focus on the development of core capabilities, resource investment is more targeted, and shorten the equipment development cycle.
Finally, artificial intelligence technology is introduced to improve the adaptability of equipment to complex environments. An important research point of ORAN is to use artificial intelligence technology to improve the environmental adaptability of wireless resource management and wireless transmission technology. Machine learning can be used to better adapt the wireless device to the environment in different scenarios, improve network performance, and better meet the needs of future 5G complex application scenarios.
More clear future directions
At the Shanghai show, the ORAN Alliance further clarified the goals, tasks and principles of the ORAN Alliance. Emmanuel Lugagne Delpon, senior vice president of Orange Labs Network, said the ORAN Alliance will complement 3GPP's gap in 5G standardization and will drive the open deployment and virtualization evolution of interface and wireless subsystem APIs.
It is reported that the future work of the ORAN Alliance includes the implementation of open interfaces and API capabilities to support more flexible networking and richer, better-quality services; the introduction of new technologies such as virtualization and artificial intelligence to implement intelligent wireless networks based on big data; Research open source, white box solutions, improve joint innovation capabilities, and reduce industry costs.
Based on this, the O-RAN Alliance has established seven working groups covering the four directions of network intelligence, interface openness, hardware white box and software open source. The ORAN Alliance welcomes the active participation of all parties in the industry to jointly create a new and intelligent wireless network.