Tech mahindra
Tech mahindra

Open Virtualized RAN Ecosystem Overview

Date: February 26, 2018

What are we announcing?

Cisco, along with other key vendors, is announcing an ecosystem designed to accelerate the viability and adoption of open virtualized RAN (vRAN) solutions and ensure their extension into a broader network architecture. This will accelerate innovation and enable new business models while dramatically lowering costs, improving performance, and allowing for faster deployment of next generation mobile networks. Cisco is working with ecosystem vendors who have confirmed plans to join the initiative including Altiostar, Aricent, Intel, Mavenir, Phazr, Red Hat and Tech Mahindra; to address current and future needs of our customers.

Why Now?

Operators are facing strong pressures to evolve their business and operations. They continue to experience voracious demand for bandwidth, while aggressive competition drives downward pressure on ARPU. Effectively addressing this problem requires new solutions focused on reducing Capex and Opex for a much lower cost per bit, while simultaneously creating a more flexible and agile service delivery environment. This is a non-trivial combination to solve for in the current mode of operations.

Innovations such as network function virtualization, are enabling a fundamentally new architecture to emerge - a truly software-defined mobile network. This new architecture will provide an economical, dynamic and flexible platform to satisfy a variety of use cases and applications. Open vRAN is a key enabler for a dynamic multi-vendor ecosystem.

While there is a lot of strong innovation happening in this space, there are still many gaps and challenges which make it difficult to assemble end-to-end solutions. This puts a heavy burden back on progressive operators and start-ups with limited scope. We believe it’s an ideal time to align and collaborate to solve the key challenges to deliver innovative RAN solutions ready for commercial deployment.

What are some of the important benefits of virtualized RAN?

The advent of NFV and SDN is transforming traditional networks, starting at the data-center and expanding outwards to access networks. vRAN provides a set of methods to decompose the traditional radio stacks and map them into discrete elements. Decomposition allows the hardware solutions to be decoupled from software implementations, enabling an eco-system of vendors to emerge that will deliver the infrastructure for more cost effective and efficient access networks. To achieve this, it is essential that open interfaces be established to maximize innovation, flexibility, and economic benefits.

A truly open virtualized RAN helps in a number of areas, including:

  • Empowering rapid innovation in both the hardware domain and software domain
  • Leveraging economical and ubiquitous Ethernet and/or IP based transport to support lower
  • cost, future-proof deployments
  • Enabling the operator to maximize the benefits of IP and cloud throughout the network,leveraging key technologies such as segment routing
  • Utilizing COTS hardware and NFV to provide elasticity of capacity
  • Pooling capacity resources and licenses to cater to large sets of devices with diverse needs
  • Providing a flexible platform for Edge Computing essential for a new generation of services
  • Allowing dynamic orchestration of 5G slices
  • Supporting an almost limitless variety of use cases and deployment models
  • Building an agile service delivery environment for the creation of new business models

What Can Customers Expect?

A customer-centric ecosystem focused on assembling viable solutions and solving key challenges. This ecosystem is aligned on building an open and modular architecture which will support a variety of use cases. We’ll focus on activities that simplify and de-risk the move to vRAN and a software-defined mobile network such as:

  • Defining reference architectures
  • Testing and integration
  • Solutions validation
  • Standards activities at existing standards bodies
  • Identifying areas where standards bodies and industry forums need to focus
  • Coordinating roadmaps to deliver end-to-end solutions
  • Publishing performance benchmarks
  • Creating and validating network management templates
  • Running Proof of Concepts in the lab and in the field

Why Cisco?

Cisco is the leader in mobility, IP networking, cloud and virtualization. We have over 30 years of experience building the largest multi-service, open, IP networks in the world; as well as multi-vendor mobility networks with our RAN agnostic packet core, policy, and SON solutions. Additionally, innovations such as our telco cloud infrastructure, transport solutions with end-to-end segment routing, and orchestration, enable robust, scalable solutions.

Cisco has a history of leading the industry through many similar transitions, from migrating proprietary SNA networks to IP back in the 90s, all the way to leading the recent transitions to virtualization in mobile packet core, video, and software defined networks.

Why Altiostar?

Altiostar is the pioneer of vRAN technology with commercial vRAN deployments and has completed the largest quantity of trials of vRAN around the world. Altiostar has been working with an ecosystem of partners to form the open RAN solution set, using best-of-breed components for RRH, AAS, Massive MIMO Panels, and mmWave NR products. It has the most comprehensive solution offering for open RAN in the market today that includes white box hardware, open source NFV/SDN platforms, commercial grade LTE-A and 5G NR software, MEC, Analytics, SON coupled with full services and support capability from its large SI partners. Altiostar is working with world’s largest operators to implement open RAN solutions for LTE-A, Massive MIMO and 5G.

Why Aricent?

Aricent is the world’s leading global design and engineering company, providing a range of services and software framework offerings to enable Design, Software, Hardware, Testing and Product Support. Aricent has a long history of working as a Design and Product Engineering Services partner to Global Communication Service Providers and Network Equipment Companies as they rapidly deploy new products and services.

Aricent is at the leading edge of delivering service offerings and innovative software frameworks for Radio Access Network (RAN) including enablement of a CRAN architecture, Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) and 5G, enabling our customers to accelerate their next-generation product roadmaps based on an agile, virtualized and scalable architecture capable of delivering multiple services simultaneously.

Why Intel?

Intel is enabling and accelerating the shift to agile, cloud-ready network architectures by leading ecosystem alignment around rapid delivery of standards-based solutions for software-defined, virtualized networks.

Why Mavenir?

Mavenir is purpose-built as a software company, and redefining mobile network economics for Communication Service Providers (CSPs) world-wide. We are paving the way to 5G with 100% software-based, Open HW, Cloud Native secure network solutions designed to propel NFV evolution at web-speed, and achieve web-scale economics. As a proud partner in the Open Virtualized RAN Ecosystem, we are pleased to contribute our Cloud RAN virtualized BBU SDR solution to this important industry collaboration. The Mavenir Cloud RAN solution leverages the same platform that lead to industry-leading firsts in VoLTE, VoWiFi, Advanced Messaging (RCS), Multi-ID, accelerating network transformation for more than 250+ CSP customers in over 130 countries, and serving over 50% of the world’s subscribers. With Cloud RAN, we continue our history of innovation with solutions proven to reduce CSP’s total cost of ownership by 40%. Our Cloud RAN product portfolio consists of Open Interface (xRAN & 3GPP) Remote Radio Units (RRU), virtualized Baseband Units (vBBU) and Massive MIMO. Mavenir’s 4G/5G network slicing and Cloud RAN products lead the way to a future of evolved, Cloud Native networking solutions that enable innovative and secured end-user experiences. Mavenir’s sole focus on delivering innovative software solutions, each designed to disrupt the industry’s economic status quo, are complementary to the charter of the Open Virtualized RAN Ecosystem. Together with our program partners, we will accelerate the vital changes that will stimulate industry growth and deliver innovative services and applications to the market.


PHAZR is a pioneer and leader of 5G Millimeter wave radio technology. We are taking a highly-modular approach to radio design that allows us to offer the industry’s broadest portfolio of production-proven 5G solutions for the 24-40 GHz and sub-7GHz spectrum bands. We embrace industry-standard compute & processing, open-source software, and open-interfaces to offer a fully programmable and automated radio network.

Why Red Hat?

Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of open source solutions and is heavily involved in bringing open source technologies to network operators, including communications service providers. We see vRAN as an emerging technology that is prime for open source innovation, particularly as a means to drive business agility and enable mobile operators to better embrace digital transformation. As a community-first innovator, we are keen to collaborate with Cisco and others to better address vRAN use cases via upstream projects and to help build better vRAN solutions on open source infrastructure. As industry groups come together to build reference architectures for faster adoption of technologies in the vRAN space, we are excited to work with our partners in creating better solutions to engage these emerging use cases.

Why Tech Mahindra?

Tech Mahindra is a leading consulting, business engineering and integration company and a specialist in digital transformation, networks and operations for the communications industry. We have over 30 years of experience in successfully enabling our customer’s transformation journeys for their wireline and wireless networks, as well as their software architectures. Tech Mahindra has whole heartedly embraced Open Innovation as part of our Network-of-the-Future initiative; we are leading a number of open source efforts including ONAP and Acumos. By joining the open virtualized RAN ecosystem we are taking the next step in our SDN & NFV journey. Tech Mahindra has invested in its VNF-Xchange platform to enable NFV integration and end-to-end solution testing. VNF-Xchange has already delivered number of SDN & NFV solutions that leveraged open source platforms as well as products from our partner eco-system. Tech Mahindra is a trusted Systems Integrator with a proven industry track record of bringing best-in-class solutions to the CSPs. We are enabling CSPs to virtualize their RAN with best-in-class and truly open vRAN solution.


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