Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”), India’s largest integrated telco, together with Mavenir, demonstrated O-RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), at the recent Global O-RAN ALLIANCE Plugfest it hosted.
A bit of trivia – these interoperability events used to be called bake-offs but Pillsbury has a trademark on the term so we now call them plugfests to minimize the legal bills.
The Global Plugfest, which was a first for the India region participation, showcased the growing maturity of the O-RAN ecosystem. The event allowed participants to integrate and validate conformance & interoperability of the solutions implemented based on O-RAN defined architecture & specifications to accelerate readiness of solutions for commercial deployments.
O-RAN continues the telecom carrier industry’s move to opening up. A few decades ago they started by embracing IP communications then SIP trunking, IMS and NFV. Many of them also embraced open-source solutions from Sangoma, Metaswitch/Microsoft and TelcoBridges.
The O-RAN architecture is the foundation for building the virtualized RAN on open hardware and cloud, with embedded AI-powered radio control. The architecture is based on standards defined by O-RAN ALLIANCE, which are fully supporting and complimentary to standards promoted by 3GPP and other industry standards organizations.
The O-RAN Software Community is focused on aligning a software reference implementation with the O-RAN ALLIANCE’s open architecture and specifications.
The aim is to achieve a solution that can be utilized to unify and accelerate the evolution and deployment in the RAN.
The O-RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) demonstrated by Mavenir and Airtel makes use of advanced machine learning algorithms to optimize network performance. This demonstration showed RIC in action, ingesting configuration data and performance metrics from a demonstration RAN, and iteratively optimizing the configuration parameters to achieve improvement in key performance indicators. The target objective function is configurable by the operator, guiding the optimization process to meet potentially dynamically changing business requirements at runtime. The scope of the demonstration also includes O-RAN O1 interface testing of Mavenir Non-RealTime RIC.
Pardeep Kohli, President and CEO Mavenir said “We are excited to partner with Airtel in the first global O-RAN plugfest event that enables re-thinking of traditional network deployment models.”
“We are delighted to partner with the global O-RAN community. Our engagement with Mavenir for this successful demonstration is yet another step forward towards building 5G systems with open network architecture,” said Randeep Sekhon, CTO at Bharti Airtel.
Kuntal Chowdhury, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Mavenir’s AI & Analytics business unit, said “Optimization of network configuration parameters in traditional network deployments is characterized by high cost, the need for expert technicians, and long delays as data is collected through drive-testing. Through the intelligent application of the latest machine learning techniques, we can dramatically reduce the cost and time required for network optimization at network deployment time and throughout the life of the network. Thanks to Airtel and O-RAN ALLIANCE for hosting this event.”
Rich Tehrani is CEO of RT Advisors and a Registered Representative with and offering securities through Four Points Capital Partners LLC (Four Points) (Member FINRA/SIPC). RT Advisors is not owned by Four Points.