International Best Practice & Case Studies
Assurance of compliance with standards via neutral testing environments is one of the six approaches DCMS has identified for realising Open RAN. Several organisations outside the UK provide Open RAN certification or test and validation ‘badges’, most notable being the O-RAN Alliance and TIP.
Since the emergence of Open RAN disaggregation, CPRI has had somewhat of a resurgence; it can be seen from a historical perspective as an early attempt to bring some level of globally harmonised open interface into a closed ecosystem, but this was (and continues to be) far from an open RAN standard. CPRI proprietary layers still exist – so this does not really support Open RAN system interoperability goals. On the positive side, CPRI can be seen as the genesis of split 7 and it is an interface used also by the O-RAN Alliance.
Security is a key requirement on all Open RAN initiatives; it is baked into all standards and there are specialist working groups in each of the standards bodies, including 3GPP, O-RAN Alliance and ETSI.
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is the global technical standards specifications initiative responsible for bringing together, producing and disseminating the Reports and Specifications that define 3GPP technologies, on behalf of seven national or regional telecommunications standard development organizations (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TSDSI, TTA, TTC).
The 3GPP’s focus is on delivering a minimum specification baseline for globally applicable cellular telecommunications technologies, including radio access, core network and service capabilities, to provide a complete system description for mobile telecommunications.
The 3GPP specifications are structured in releases; 5G NR (New Radio) was first introduced in Release 15, with the 5G end to end to system in Release 16 and the current agreed work plan spans into Release 18 for 5G Advanced.
With regards to diversification, 3GPP has carried out work on the pros and cons of different logical and functional splits between network components.
This industry alliance, driving interoperable Open RAN standards, is widely recognised for its contribution in bringing together a global and thriving O-RAN ecosystem of operators, vendors and system integrators. It aims to collaboratively develop, promote and validate common Open RAN interoperability standards.
TIP was founded by Facebook (now Meta) as a community of telecoms network industry players to foster a collaborative ecosystem approach to accelerate the development and adoption of open, disaggregated, standards-based networks with an initial focus on developing for underserved markets.
The Small Cell Forum (SCF) is taking a strong leadership role in some key aspects, including the use of FAPI specifications in Open RAN and also Neutral Host small cell networks.
The Joint Operators Technical Specifications (JOTS) forum publishes technical specifications that enable mobile operators and their vendor or neutral host partners to deploy common, shared radio network infrastructures. These shared radio networks are often found in stadiums, shopping centres, public transport settings and increasingly in office buildings.
Building a more competitive, innovative, and diverse supply chain for the global telecoms market.