FRANKFURT, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Three carriers that own and operate some of the largest mobile networks in the world — AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom — today announced the formation of xRAN.org, a consortium dedicated to promoting a software-based, extensible Radio Access Network (xRAN) and to standardizing critical elements of the xRAN architecture. The xRAN architecture transforms today’s static, highly-proprietary RAN infrastructure into an extensible, software-based service delivery platform capable of rapidly responding to changing user, application and business needs.
xRAN.org was formed to develop, standardize and promote an open alternative to the traditionally closed, hardware-based RAN architecture. Current RAN architectures limit carriers’ ability to optimize scarce spectrum and radio resources. This hinders the efforts of carriers to customize or quickly innovate to meet emerging customer needs. Amid exploding demand for bandwidth and intense competition, carriers need an alternative approach.
“xRAN has the potential to transform the way mobile access networks are built and managed. This supports our vision for RAN infrastructure evolution, which is an important component of our Software Defined Operator model,” said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO Deutsche Telekom. “With the adoption of a software-based multi-service delivery platform, we will have the flexibility to better respond to our customers changing user, application and business needs in the 5G era.”
“As the operator of one of the largest mobile networks in the world, AT&T recognizes the tremendous potential benefits the xRAN architecture offers. AT&T is committed to driving the development and promotion of the xRAN approach, both internally and for the industry,” said Thomas Keathley, the SVP of Wireless Network Architecture and Design at AT&T. “We believe the xRAN approach will fundamentally improve the quality of our customers’ experience while, at the same time, deliver reductions in CAPEX and OPEX that we’ve seen as a result of SDN and NFV initiatives in our core infrastructure.”
“SK Telecom views the xRAN architecture as a key platform for delivering next generation mobile applications. Augmented reality, IoT, connected cars, smart homes, all require a RAN infrastructure that empowers carriers and application developers to innovate quickly to meet customer expectations,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO of SK Telecom. “We are dedicated to the success of xRAN.org. We look forward to continued collaboration with the world’s top mobile infrastructure thought leaders and to the results xRAN.org will bring to RAN infrastructures around the world.”
Collaboration over the past 6 months has resulted in an initial reference implementation. Our multi-vendor demonstration highlights the flexibility of xRAN’s open interfaces, decoupled control plane and eNB stack on commodity hardware, as an alternative to existing closed, distributed control implementations on proprietary hardware.
xRAN fundamentally advances the RAN architecture in three areas – decouples the RAN control plane from the user plane, builds a modular eNB software stack that operates on common-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and publishes open north- and south-bound interfaces to the industry.
- Decouple Control and User Planes: This migration of control, formerly tightly bound to RAN hardware devices, into accessible computing devices allows the underlying RAN to be more efficiently orchestrated as a logical pool of capacity. eNB software is decoupled from vendor specific hardware, inspiring innovation in both software and hardware cooperatively, but independently. Carriers gain unprecedented real-time programmability and control in their RAN infrastructure, which readily supports next-generation mobile applications and business services.
- Modular eNB stack: The xRAN approach is well aligned with carrier Network Function Virtualization (NFV) initiatives, and provides high-performance, fine-grained traffic control, interference management and radio resource control on standard x86 platforms and across multi-vendor radio access interfaces. This approach enables flexible placement of eNB functions and hybrid split-control plane with a scheduler to handle variable front-haul latency and programmable, centralized control.
- Standardize North and Southbound Interfaces: Standardized interfaces with multiple vendor support and proven interoperability. The xRAN.org and its members will drive adoption of these interfaces through standards processes, socialize the xRAN architecture and provide needed support. xRAN interfaces are well aligned with carrier edge cloud initiatives and complementary to edge computing efforts.
The software-based architectural approach delivered by xRAN allows carriers to reduce complexity, innovate more quickly and significantly reduce operational and capital costs. xRAN benefits to carriers and their network subscribers include:
- Unprecedented real-time programmability and control of the RAN infrastructure to readily support next generation mobile applications and business services.
- Optimized end-user experience, as applications exploit centralized control with end-to-end network slicing to seamlessly adapt the RAN to user needs.
- Rapid innovation with the ability to deliver new capabilities without vendor updates.
In addition to the industry leading mobile carriers, the xRAN.org includes technology suppliers and research leaders including: Intel, Texas Instruments, Aricent, Radisys and Prof. Sachin Katti from Stanford University.
For more information about xRAN.org membership go to xran.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on xRAN architecture, download the xRAN Architecture white paper. To schedule a briefing with xRAN member representatives at NGMN Industry Conference & Exhibition in Frankfurt, please contact email@example.com.