German operator Deutsche Telekom and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced the launch of a software-defined RAN trial in Berlin.
The partners noted that the Berlin trial is the first field trial implementing fully disaggregated open RAN solutions using ONF’s RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) software platform, as defined by the O-RAN architecture.
This SD-RAN trial hosted by Deutsche Telekom integrates components from eight companies: AirHop, Edgecore, Facebook, Foxconn, Intel, Radisys, Supermicro and Wiwynn. Additionally, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is participating by providing hardware and facilities out of the TIP Community Lab in Berlin, hosted by Deutsche Telekom.
The live 4G/5G trial features horizontally disaggregated hardware (separate RU, DU, and CU units), as well as vertically disaggregated software components including an open source near real-time RIC (nRT-RIC) and xApps coming from the ONF’s SD-RAN project.
The entirety of the trial is operationalized leveraging ONF’s Aether platform, a centrally-managed, cloud-native platform providing Connectivity-as-a-Service, and highlights network slicing with multiple UPFs running at the edge. The SD-Core component of Aether provides 5G connectivity and the control plane running from the public cloud while SD-Fabric is a fully programmable network fabric optimized for the edge cloud used to instantiate a P4-based 4G/5G UPF in hardware.
Aether hosts the Radisys containerized CU while Intel’s OpenNESS edge platform hosts the Radisys DU to enable cloud-native deployment of the RAN workload with optimization on Intel’s latest Xeon platform. The CU and DU are integrated with ONF’s nRT-RIC, xApps, SD-Core 5G core and Foxconn O-RU.
“The Berlin SD-RAN Open RAN Trial, is a momentous step towards realizing the vision of fully disaggregated and intelligent RAN, leveraging ONF’s leading open source RAN Intelligent Controller software platform. In addition to open fronthaul, this trial includes disaggregated RU/DU/CU units, and also vertically disaggregates the RIC and xApps according to SDN principles. Together, we are demonstrating the power of truly open RAN and ecosystem collaboration to accelerate innovation,” said Alex Choi, senior vice president of strategy and technology innovation at Deutsche Telekom.
“The SD-RAN Berlin trial with Deutsche Telekom is a significant industry milestone for open RAN. At ONF we are seeing tremendous interest from the mobile community for our open source implementation of the O-RAN architecture, and this trial demonstrates the maturity of the SD-RAN open source RIC and xApp development platform,” said Guru Parulkar, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).
ONF is a non-profit operator led consortium driving transformation of network infrastructure and carrier business models through applied research, development, advocacy, and education. The ONF is led by its operator partners AT&T, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Google, NTT Group and Türk Telekom.
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