New Service Enablement Platform From Nokia Taking Advantage of O-RAN, MEC

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A new solution from Nokia is looking to use openness and edge computing on a cloud-native platform to achieve more. Though the company has cut 11,000 jobs already to balance its budget, innovation and moving forward hasn’t slowed for the company. Nokia’s Service Enablement Platform is the latest example of how the company continues to push 5G networks forward.

“Embracing open collaboration is key to the development of 5G use cases and harnessing the true power of the technology. Nokia’s Service Enablement Platform adds a new intelligence layer to the RAN and enables the creation of high-value add use cases. We are committed to making it easier for our CSP customers to actively support the adoption of Open RAN principles and standards,”  said Nokia’s Head of Edge Cloud BU, Pasi Toivanen, in a statement from the company.

The platform will use two main components: a near real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) and multi-access edge compute (MEC). This O-RAN compliant RIC that is also cloud-native will run edge and share infrastructure with Cloud RAN and other virtualized network functions by using Nokia’s AirFrame servers. Both O-RAN and virtualization continue to gain momentum within the 5G industry among vendors and developers as they reduce costs, speed up builds, enhance the ability to conduct maintenance, and inspire collaboration in many innovative ways.

In 2020, over the summer, Nokia put its O-RAN compliant RIC to the test conducting trials in New York on AT&T’s mmWave 5G network. The year before that, Nokia and AT&T collaborated to develop a platform for the O-RAN Alliance-defined RIC and E2 interfaces, making this a natural next step. Nokia also conducted tests with China Mobile in January 2021 in which its RIC confirmed traffic prediction in a live 5G network and trialed network anomaly detection with over 90% accuracy by examining 10,000 calls.

External applications (xApps) can manage some of the components of RAN using installed, controlled applications without interruption. RIC will create a more programmable radio network that enables artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies that will be used for xApps. Nokia’s Service Enablement Platform will launch with RIC xApps and will also support xApps from other providers. The xApps will be able to control both 4G and 5G RAN through RIC quicker.

Nokia’s RIC xApps will be a suite of plugins such as an advanced traffic steering AI/ML-based algorithm capable of optimizing RAN traffic distribution and an xApp that can detect anomalies. Though they are currently proof of concept right now and still undergoing testing, the goal of Nokia is to have them ready for commercial use sometime in 2021. The platform will have better optimization and faster deployments thanks to Nokia’s ability to leverage low-latency data with closed-loop automation. MEC allows for ultra-low latency and processing critical data locally. Nokia is the one global RAN vendor providing Open RAN solutions at an active rate and the first major RAN vendor to join the O-RAN Alliance.

Source: Fierce Wireless