Ericsson moves towards Open RAN with new Open Lab

Open RAN

Swedish kit vendor Ericsson established the Ericsson Open Lab, a new space to collaborate and innovate with leading Ericsson Cloud RAN customers and ecosystem partners to drive virtualized 5G Radio Access Networks (RAN) technologies.

The physical lab is co-located with the company’s Cloud RAN R&D site in Ottawa but, it is also a virtual space for CSPs and other RAN stakeholders to get together and brainstorms concepts.

The initial focus is on Ericsson’s own Cloud RAN products but, as it is increasingly inclined to do, Ericsson stressed that it has got no problem with people chatting about Open RAN technology as such.

“Open technology underpins the modern mobile miracle, which connects more than eight billion devices today with one set of global operating standards,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson’s Head of Business Area Networks. “With Ericsson Open Lab, we invite our customers and partners to co-create and bring new cloud innovations to 5G.

“We have created this collaboration to develop architectures and common operating standards that complement existing 5G ready technology,” he added.

This initiative will help to test the limits of 5G connectivity, working closely with operators and enterprise customers globally, as the industry continues to adopt more open architectures.

Rapid and continuous feedback for customers

One of the main goals of the lab is rapid and continuous feedback for customers. Ericsson wants to showcase technical milestones to customers and partners on a regular basis and not just at large industry events, Eric Parsons, head of Product Development Unit for Cloud RAN at Ericsson said.

The lab facilitates virtual meetings and enables Ericsson to show off prototypes for early feedback from customers.

“Working with Ericsson in the Open Lab will enable our design and engineering teams to collaborate in real-time and co-develop new virtualized RAN technologies to accelerate the intelligence and agility of our 5G networks,” said Toshikazu Yokai, Chief Director of Mobile Technology at KDDI.

The other primary goal is ecosystem collaboration with access to beta configurations for shorter lead times to try out new use cases, with virtual demos and tests. Ericsson aims to bring new deployment and use-case scenarios to fruition alongside customers.

As operators around the globe explore virtualization and open radio access network (RAN) architectures, the leading equipment suppliers have taken different approaches to openness.

Ericsson introduced Cloud RAN in October and Parsons said the vendor is very much focused on network automation and RAN intelligence, pushing forward to support an O-RAN set of interfaces.