Commercials, cut-outs, and any other marketing medium you can think of. They all love to show 5G as a bold call-to-action that is ready to take your wireless experience to the next level. 5G has a lot to offer, even in its early stages, but there is still a long way to go. The true power of 5G is yet to be seen due to several limitations but as an emerging technology, this is to be expected to an extent. Still, as 5G networks roll out and devices are created, 5G continues to creep into our lives. Open RAN will help 5G networks perform better and quicker. Speed is one thing and Open RAN technology will surely help 5G reach the download speeds that it is meant to reach, but Open RAN will also help 5G reach these astounding speeds in a shorter time frame than without it.
It doesn’t do us much good to continue here without explaining what Open RAN is. Open RAN or open radio access network, is a network that uses hardware and software from a multitude of vendors and is interchangeable. This is great for 5G because the collaboration and specialization that each vendor can conduct with each other and wireless carriers brings new possibilities and allows for advancement faster. It also makes the entire process of collaboration a much easier and smoother experience. The O-RAN Alliance is dedicated to this idea and creating Open RAN capabilities in 5G and other uses successful for everyone within the industry.
“If you really want to deliver the promise of 5G and multiple use cases, to make sure you can satisfy use cases with very different requirements, you need to have two things happening in the network,” said Thierry Maupilé of Altiostar. “Great flexibility in how you are going to deploy different network functions…You can put those network elements wherever you want,” he continued.
Maupilé also noted that “The network has to become a platform and the platform has to expose the APIs that have never been exposed before. The ecosystem which is going to sit above is more aligned with different verticals–healthcare or retail or automotive or manufacturing–so you can write applications on this network for a particular use case.”
Though strides still need to be taken, Open RAN is helping 5G expand in a variety of ways. Easier collaborations, as we have mentioned, are only the beginning when it comes to what Open RAN is bringing to 5G networks. This comes with the ability to collaborate not only easier but in new and exciting ways. This creativity leads to flexibility among vendors and carriers and gives those creating 5G infrastructure various avenues to explore to ensure the job gets done. Because of this, companies will see 5G speeds grow faster as a result. Open RAN is also presenting the opportunity for lower costs for network building. This is great for carriers looking to save money but it is also great for consumers who may see savings passed on to them and the ability to unleash new capabilities including less physical infrastructure which makes access and maintenance cheaper and more effective.
Combining Open RAN with other essential functions such as cloud computing, automation, and edge computing is the end goal and it’s closer each day. As tests continue, we will continue to see the limitations of 5G waste away. Open RAN is helping companies bring these different functions together and work for the great good as 5G networks deploy throughout the United States and the world.
Source: RCR Wireless