Deutsche Telekom shows cloud-based open RAN for 4G and 5G

Deutsche Telekom shows cloud-based open RAN for 4G and 5G in Berlin

13 October 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Cover

Deutsche Telekom is to carry out a full trial of the open systems for 4G and 5G networks in Berlin.

The company is working with the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and eight vendors to test software-defined radio access networks (SD-RAN) and open RAN in what it calls a fully disaggregated system.

In addition, the Facebook-backed Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is taking part by providing hardware and facilities out of the TIP Community Lab in Berlin hosted by Deutsche Telekom.

Alex Jinsung Choi, Deutsche Telekom’s senior VP for strategy and technology innovation, said the trial “is a momentous step towards realising the vision of fully disaggregated and intelligent RAN, leveraging ONF’s leading open-source RAN intelligent controller software platform.”

Choi, who was CTO of SK Telecom in South Korea until 2017 and is also a founding board member of the O-RAN Alliance, added: “Together, we are demonstrating the power of truly open RAN and ecosystem collaboration to accelerate innovation.”

The trial will integrate components from eight companies: AirHop, Edgecore, Facebook, Foxconn, Intel, Radisys, Supermicro and Wiwynn. The on-site field trial integration and testing is being coordinated and supported by Highstreet Technologies.

Deutsche Telekom said the live trial in Berlin (pictured: Deutsche Telekom’s Berlin office) features horizontally disaggregated hardware, as well as vertically disaggregated software components.

The trial uses ONF’s Aether platform, a centrally-managed, multi-cloud, cloud-native platform providing connectivity-as-a-service. The software-defined core component of Aether provides 5G connectivity and the control plane running from the public cloud.

Guru Parulkar, executive director of ONF, said the trial “is a significant industry milestone for open RAN”.

The ONF and Deutsche Telekom will be co-hosting a virtual event next Tuesday that promises to offer an in-depth view into the trial as well as key findings from across the open RAN movement.