Facebook’s TIP starts 5G open RAN group for private networks

Facebook’s TIP starts 5G open RAN group for private networks

04 March 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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The Facebook-backed project that is supporting open-source mobile technology has started a new unit to promote private 5G networks.

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP), increasingly seen as the main industry sponsor of open radio access networks (open RAN), says its new 5G Private Networks group will contribute to improve the quality of experience.

It will bring better coverage and capacity through on-premise radio equipment, says TIP, and the ability to support low latency and high bandwidth service requirements through edge compute and routing of private traffic, and the potential to support the increasing demand for privacy and localised data analytics.

Telefónica’s Juan Carlos García (pictured), who is a TIP board director, said: “This new solution group will enable operators to address the exciting opportunities that 5G is creating in the enterprise segment, both through valuable features for our customers and more efficient network operations.”

Telefónica is one of the five European giants that announced a few weeks ago that they will work together on open RANs for mobile. The others are Deutsche Telekom, Orange, TIM and Vodafone. A memorandum of understanding for that grouping commits the five to the O-RAN Alliance, which has 27 operator members from AT&T to Vodafone, and to “other industry initiatives, such as the Telecom Infra Project, that contribute to the development of open RAN and that aim to create a healthy and competitive open RAN ecosystem and advance R&D efforts”.

Caroline Chan, also a TIP board director as well as VP and general manager of Intel’s network business incubation division, said: “Through the recently launched solution groups, TIP is expanding its scope to include the validation of interoperability between different elements across the whole network, and insights and recommendations about how to operate them.”

The group will develop a new approach to manage and operate 5G private networks, based on a cloud-native architecture, and making use of a new class of software management tools. Telefónica will test the solution in its TIP Community Lab in Madrid and then move to field trials in Málaga.

TIP said that 5G private networks also create the opportunity for operators to implement new network management and operational models, enabling full automation of the operation of the enterprise network while improving end customer application experience.

Chan said: “With dedicated local private high-performance network connectivity as a key emerging deployment model for 5G and edge buildout, this group can help foster important ecosystem collaboration.”

However, traditional network architectures, focused on large scale deployments and operations, don’t have the right economics or the operational flexibility to efficiently deliver on the emerging needs of enterprise customers.

García said: “The TIP community is the perfect environment for this innovation, as it will allow us to leverage multiple current project groups … to deliver an end-to-end minimum viable product that we will then test in Telefonica’s TIP Community Lab.”