Deutsche Telekom and VMware have developed a virtual RAN platform (vRAN) together with Intel. Telekom announced this on February 26, 2020 on their magenta workshop talk known. Radio Access Network (RAN) stands for the components related to antenna technology. The new platform is based on the basics of the Open-RAN standard (O-RAN).
The equipment for LTE and 5G networks is currently being tested and validated in laboratory tests. The virtual radio network architecture is based on software and cloud applications that, according to Telekom, are based on open standards and interfaces and use optimization software for the radio network.
The software therefore doubles the efficiency of an LTE radio network. The software-based platform is scalable. For example, increasing the number of antennas from two to four doubles the efficiency of the virtual RAN.
Telekom, VMware and Intel work together with various partners on the development. Key partners include Cohere Technologies and Mavenir.
Open RAN means virtualized network elements, white box hardware, open source software and standardized interfaces. Proprietary chips are to be largely avoided. This would mean that the established suppliers Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, Huawei and ZTE would lose their business model with proprietary technology.
Open RAN will not help network operators for the next three to four years. That said Telefónica Germany boss Markus Haas last week. "It is a vision that will give us more options from 2025 onwards and could create suppliers in Europe for components for which there is as yet no market."
Secretary of Justice William Barr said about Open RAN: "The problem is that it is a far cry from the future. The approach is completely untested and would take many years to be successful." If at all, Open RAN would be ready for the market in a decade.