A number of changes are taking place on the Radio Access Network of cellular carriers. Virtualization, Remote Radio Head, Cloud RAN, and Open RAN are some of the biggest changes, but 5G, multiband, and directionality are also adding layers. ComTech Forum meets this month with Rakuten, Tata, Ericsson and a packed agenda to introduce startups and innovations focused on the next generation of Radio Access Networks.
Silicon Valley, California, September 28 2021/Meeting Recap/ With 5G solidly in deployment in various places around the globe, we join Telecom Council last Thursday to discuss a new approach to telecom networks – taking advantage of the shift to 5G to change the way we build, equip, and manage the networks. This meeting looked at various new RAN (Radio Access Network) technologies, in particular Open RAN, which can:
We heard from Rakuten, who are natives in this new era of SDN and don’t have the legacy constraints of other cellular operators, about how they’ve architected the network and how they’re taking advantage of their unique position. Our panel discussion looked at a variety of topics from feature enablement to security, with a particular focus on what influence Washington DC will have on the US networks.
Kelley Drye explained that the US regulatory environment is still evolving, characterized by the showcasing and encouragement of open and interoperable RAN as alternatives to traditional vertically-integrated vendors, rather than the adoption of mandates that any form of RAN be utilized when deploying 5G. As examples, the FCC is commencing administration of the $1.9 billion Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program; while it recognizes that Open RAN solutions will qualify for reimbursement to qualifying broadband operators removing, replacing, and disposing of kit, and encouraged their consideration, it has also pursued technical neutrality and avoiding preferences for particular categories of solutions. Further, January 2021 legislation established the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund – to be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) once monies are appropriated by Congress – under which up to $50 million for qualifying recipients that target research and development of advanced wireless technology, integration, compatibility, scalability, and security, specifically including open, interoperable, multi-vendor use cases and environments for next generation deployments.
As with all Telecom Council meetings, we met a number of impressive startups who are working in this space including local Silicon Valley companies and some who presented remotely. We heard great presentations about RAN from AI enhancements, enterprise solutions, private networks, network optimization, mmWave cost reductions, and more.
Kelley Drye is pleased to support the telecom industry and its innovation ecosystem and sponsor the Telecom Council as it brings these important ideas and companies together, both onsite and virtually.
Thank you to sponsor, host, presenters and startups. Members can view presentations from this meeting in the Member Library, linked below.