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Multi-vendor interoperability to unlock the power of Open RAN – SONIC Labs guest blog

Posted 31 Oct 2022

Multi-vendor interoperability to unlock the power of Open RAN

This is a guest blog for Digital Catapult from Rafal Sanecki, Head of Marketing at IS-Wireless

Diversity is the source of Open RAN’s true power. The telecommunications market which has been dominated by a few traditional companies, now opens to a huge variety of new entrants. It’s a true game changer and an opportunity for customers to pick and choose from various vendors. As this approach is still fairly new, initiatives such as SONIC Labs are tremendously important right now.

We need 5G networks to be built in a different model, the open one. And the key to efficient deployments of such networks is interoperability and integration of diverse, independent elements. Of course, questions about these parts working together are valid. That is why companies engage in joint initiatives to test their solutions working with components of other vendors.

We are seeing more appreciation for open ecosystems in the industry, but also amongst the officials and regulators. The UK with its dedicated 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy developed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), is looking to draw innovative companies to their market and answer their supply demands is a great example of that trend.

With support from DCMS, Digital Catapult and the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom has joined their forces on the SONIC Labs programme, aiming to diversify the global telecoms supply chain. IS-Wireless is excited to be amongst the first five companies picked to boost the development of our Open RAN solutions in indoor mobile network settings of SONIC Labs and exchange knowledge with other participants of the project. Collaboration across the industry and initiatives like this programme are the drivers of real change toward open ecosystems.

At IS-Wireless we specialise in the development of software-defined 4G and 5G mobile networks, especially in the RAN for Distributed Unit (DU), Centralised Unit (CU) and near-Real Time RAN Intelligent Controller – RIC. On top of Open RAN benefits, we add value in three domains: Radio Resources Management realised via our patent pending framework and algorithms, already offering 50% capacity improvements, disaggregated software, ready to adapt to any computational and network resources, and finally our pioneer security mechanisms.

We’re contributing to the SONIC Labs programme by bringing a Centralised Unit (CU) and the L2 stack, part of the Distributed Unit (DU). We are working on integrating our Open RAN solution in lab and indoor mobile network settings. All companies participating in the programme practice smooth integration and moving towards plug and play solution. A great benefit of the programme for us is exposure to clients, especially on the UK market and we’re excited to contribute to the diversification of the UK mobile market.

Another initiative we’re involved in is the O-RAN Global PlugFest. During the latest edition we’ve completed thorough testing of our solutions in the laboratories in Berlin (Deutsche Telekom) and Turin (Telecom Italia). Global PlugFest is a project led by the O-RAN ALLIANCE, a worldwide community of mobile network operators, vendors, and institutions working to reshape the Radio Access Network (RAN) industry, and to specify and promote Open RAN networks. 

Overall, the most important advantage granted by open ecosystems is the magnitude and richness of choices available. Diversity is the source of Open RAN’s true power. However, the variety does not only regard technologies at our disposal but also the advent of completely novel business models. The openness of the ecosystem allows us to run enterprises in entirely new ways.   Artur Chmielewski
Head of Business Development at IS-Wireless

About SONIC Labs
Funded by DCMS, SONIC Labs is a programme from Digital Catapult and Ofcom to allow new solution providers to enter the telecoms supply chain in the UK. It will drive forward the rollout of Open RAN, which enables mobile networks to be built using a variety of different equipment suppliers.  Register your interest in SONIC Labs or find out more about the latest open call here.