Why OpenRAN will disrupt the vendor landscape

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5 August 2019

It is not unreasonable to suggest that the survival of some operators and traditional Network Equipment Providers is in question. Burdened by legacy business models, they’re financially struggling to deliver the required innovation, flexibility and agility needed to remain competitive and profitable.  With 5G on the horizon, the vendor community can no longer be limited by this lack of openness.  

As Mavenir’s John Baker shared in a recent RCR Wireless Article (see: Mavenir updates on open RAN: ‘Base stations with their own app stores’), “Open RAN really is the ability to change the vendor ecosystem. What we’ve seen is a whole bunch of vendor lock-in that has really happened through the standardization processes. Openness is now starting to appear in the industry, which I think is going to bring a lot of new innovation and new vendors into this marketplace.”

The trend towards the “softwarization” of networks has been a major consideration in the development of 5G Next Generation specifications. It frees the operators from proprietary hardware and software systems as the control plane is decoupled from the user plane and moves away from traditional methods to a “Service Based Architecture” (SBA) where common applications can be mixed and matched from different vendors into a single product.  This supports an open approach because the control plane is modularized with interconnected Network Functions (NFs).

John Baker shared with Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief of RCR Wireless how vRAN is just one application within a broader OpenRAN architecture, “With vRAN as an application, you can run other applications side by side. The base station of the future, it will look like an iPhone. We’re soon going to see base stations with their own app stores. If I’ve got multiple vRAN applications coming to market…I can change my vendors overnight. It’s going to be healthy competition.”

As one of the early members of O-RAN, and as the industry’s ONLY end-to-end network software provider, Mavenir’s innovative offerings are enabling both 4G and 5G wireless networks with virtualization. With numerous successful 5G demonstrations and trials in progress globally, Mavenir’s cloud-centric infrastructure and open development approach are helping operators transform mobile network economics for 5G. 

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