Thirty-one companies recently team up to announce the formation of the Open RAN Policy Coalition. The group’s purpose is to promote policies that will advance the “adoption of open and interoperable solutions in the RAN (Radio Access Network) as a means to create innovation, spur competition and expand the supply chain for advanced wireless technologies including 5G,” according to the organization’s website.
“As evidenced by the current global pandemic, vendor choice and flexibility in next-generation network deployments are necessary from a security and performance standpoint,” Open RAN Policy Coalition Executive Director Diane Rinaldo said in a statement. “By promoting policies that standardize and develop open interfaces, we can ensure interoperability and security across different players and potentially lower the barrier to entry for new innovators.”
AT&T, Cisco, DISH Network, Facebook, Google, Verizon, Samsung Electronics America and Vodafone are among the Open RAN Coalition’s founding members. The group’s members believe by opening the protocols and interfaces between subcomponents like radio, hardware and software in the RAN, they move to an environment where networks can be deployed with a more modular design without depending on one vendor. Additionally, the Open RAN Coalition stated that standardizing and developing open interfaces let it, “ensure interoperability across different players and potentially lower the barrier to entry for new innovators.”
How the Open RAN Policy Coalition could help CRE
Prior generations of mobile networks were deployed with fully integrated cell sites where one manufacturer provided the previously mentioned radios, hardware and software a closed proprietary solution. With multi-vendor deployments in place, the marketplace will be more competitive and network operators will have a better ability to manage their networks. They’ll also have the flexibility to leverage multiple suppliers’ innovations so they can upgrade their infrastructure with the latest technology—much to the benefit of CRE owners using those networks in their buildings.
Additionally, with multiple interoperable suppliers, operators can replace or address vulnerable network equipment faster when reacting to threats, which will help CRE owners keep their tenants’ private information safe. Network operators will also be able to shift network capacity on demand with multiple suppliers at their disposal.
Open RAN Policy Coalition’s worldview
The Coalition stated it believes the United States Federal Government also has a key part to play in facilitating and fostering an open, diverse and secure supply chain for advanced wireless technologies—including 5G. It announced it will promote policies that support global development of open and interoperable wireless technologies, fund research and development, remove barriers to 5G deployment and signal government support for open and interoperable solutions.
“We are in the midst of technological revolution, where personal and professional activities that could previously only be conducted on computers, are now managed on our cell phones,” the organization said on its website. “As we deploy 5G technology this will shift even further by enabling enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-reliable low latency communications and the massive Internet of Things. An essential part of this revolution is the rapid implementation and sanctity of 5G RAN technology.”