How can you select multiple vendors to build a 5G Open RAN Network?

  • My friend: Hi Ibrahim, I have a question for you.

    • Me: Please, tell me.
  • My friend: I was wondering how we can select multiple vendors to build a 5G open RAN network?

    • Me: This is a very good question. As the Open RAN ecosystem is having many vendors in different areas. So, for example, we have vendors to supply the RAN (DU& CU) software such as Samsung, Mavenir, Nokia, etc. Other vendors provide the O-RUs such as Fujitsu, NEC, Comba, etc. Also, the CU and DU HW vendors such as Dell, HPE, QCT, etc. And as the Open RAN network will be implemented in Cloud RAN mode, so we need to have vendors to support the cloud platforms such as VMware, Red Hat, Wind River, etc. And these are just examples as there are many companies available in each field and there are vendors who are spanning different fields and not only one, please check the below figure for extra examples.
  • My friend: Exactly, this is the point. How can we select vendors from this big list if we are going to build our 5G Open RAN network? Especially that we need to make sure that the vendors we select are interoperable with each other!

    • Me: First, you need to determine your technical requirements. So, for example, if you need your network to support 5G Rel.16 features, then you should select the vendor whose RAN SW solution supports 3GPP Rel.16 features. Moreover, if you need to use mMIMO in your network, you should select the vendor whose O-RUs are supporting mMIMO with 32T32R or 64T64R. Also, if you need to deploy this RAN solution over private, public or hybrid cloud, the cloud service provider will be different. So, you should filter all those vendors with your technical requirements and then you can start the next step.
  • My friend: So, what is the next step?

    • Me: To make sure that interoperability applies between the vendors in your list as one of the main advantages of Open RAN is the openness which is allowing for different vendors to work together and so we need to verify that either by checking with the vendors directly or checking the O-RAN Alliance PlugFests or TIP OpenRAN initiative to check the different Open RAN PoCs and integrations done around the world between different vendors. And lastly, price will determine the vendors you select assuming all of them are capable of providing the targeted technical requirements.
  • My friend: Thank you very much, you made it very clear.

    • Me: You are most welcome.