Airtel and Vodafone Idea Say RAN for 5G Will Evolve Through Cloudification, Telecom News, ET Telecom
NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea said Radio Access Network (RAN) solutions for 5G network will evolve through cloudification.
CTOs of major Indian telecom operators say 5G will enable applications such as cloud gaming, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), and many more, for which mobile edge computing (MEC ) is important.
“Day zero of O-RAN will come to Cloud. O-RAN is open but Cloud RAN in 5G will also have to come. There are basically two reasons. One is Cloud gives you basic flexibility, which does not exist not if you’re using a custom chip. A custom chip gives a lot of the scale and densification that isn’t possible with COTS (off the shelf) hardware,” said Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Bharti Airtel, during of a round table at the ETTelecom 5G Congress 2022.
“When you deploy 5G, it will be 100% cloud native, which will give you the inherent advantage of network slicing. Once you have the base of the container, you can give different applications, it becomes easier to give different flavors, so cloud native is very important for 5G,” Jagbir Singh, CTO, Vodafone Idea Limited.
Sekhon, however, said the densification of distributed units (DUs) at the site is a challenge facing O-RAN. “I think with new announcements from all vendors by 2023, we should have solutions that are capable and compatible with custom chips. So I think this will allow the flexibility of Cloud RAN to be built even by the standard suppliers,” he said.
Singh, in turn, said applications such as cloud gaming, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), driverless cars, among others, can only be delivered seamlessly with low latency, which requires Mobile Edge Computing (MEC).
Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia pointed out that partnering with telecom operators can show the success of the initial Cloud RAN.
“So I think about it in stages, application by application. Start with the classic [RAN]switch to slicing, switch to eMBB, then switch to more advanced AR [like] things. And then we’ll be using a private wireless network, and then I think it will be in the next three or four years. We can actually cover these use cases while taking advantage of low latency technology…this will be key for advanced applications and use cases,” said Tarun Chhabra, Head of Mobile Networks Business India, Nokia.
Sweden’s Ericsson, a Nokia rival, said it is investing in Cloud RAN technology, but also believes a majority of networks will be purpose-built for the “foreseeable future”.
“That is why we are also investing in a link between the two systems. So no matter how fast our customers are, we will be able to interoperate between a purpose-built system and a Cloud RAN system and provide features such as carrier aggregation like Ericsson Spectrum sharing. Because the two will coexist for a long time,” explained Hannes Ekström, VP & Head of Strategy, Business Area Networks, Ericsson.
Airtel and Vodafone Idea are also optimistic about the private wireless network space in India, but do not favor assigning the airwaves directly to businesses, saying telecom operators are better equipped to operate a private network.
“The spectrum can be given to us, we can actually share that spectrum, we can dedicate that spectrum for business needs, but using the public network,” Vodafone Idea’s CTO said.
“I totally agree that there is no merit in allocating a separate spectrum to it because it would be a waste, we have a small spectrum in India anyway, no need to allocate a slice of it for a use case. But telcos can still lean on and deliver those networks,” Airtel’s CTO said, adding that telcos and ecosystem players like Nokia and Ericsson will have a role. to play.
“India could be an exporter of 5G use cases, especially in the enterprise space, because they will be custom built by the systems we have in India, and we will have real business cases. and true benchmarks of the efficiencies provided,” Sekhon added. .
Sameer Vuyyuru, director, global telecom business development manager, Amazon Web Services, said the cloud company was working with telecom carriers such as Telefonica and Verizon to create private networks for them.
“[We are] work with Vodacom, LG Uplus, etc. to create a real private network use case, private MEC use cases, and then finally, open up the AWS Marketplace so that all the innovations that already exist at our telecom operators can now be exposed through AWS Marketplace to our customers added Vuyyuru.
Neil Shah, Vice President and Partner, Counterpoint Technology Market Research, moderated the panel discussion.