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Spirent Survey: ORAN Adoption Success Hinges on Confidence

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With the growing recognition that Open RAN (ORAN) will be a critical part of 5G’s future, it’s critical to understand ORAN’s impact as quickly as possible, where planned strategies meet business and technical goals, and where they fall short. Learn Spirent survey results on ORAN’s perceived challenges and anticipated adoption trends.

Despite debate about robustness, performance and interoperability, ORAN continues to cut a widening path like a snowball down the mountain. And it’s gaining velocity and mass by the day.

While most stakeholders remain toe-in-the-water, the majority already seem to anticipate a future with ORAN. At this point, it’s just a matter of when.

According to two recent surveys Spirent conducted, there’s one key driver that will ultimately determine adoption timelines and strategies: confidence. The operator community is being presented with the promise of lower costs, more innovation, accelerated time to market and new monetization opportunities. Now, development and QA teams, and their partners, need to determine how to make it all a reality.

When diving into the survey data, we weren’t surprised to see multi-vendor interoperability cited as the biggest near-term challenge by 40% of our respondents. But one emerging trend that stood out for us was that nearly one-fifth of respondents believe performance and robustness is the most significant near-term challenge. The translation? “ORAN is happening, and we’ve got to figure out how to match what’s expected from traditional RAN networks, ASAP, despite it still being so early in the game.”

The right approach at the right time

Our survey results also revealed that more than one-third of operators believe ORAN is already mature enough for limited use. Some respondents believe ORAN will be in a place to initially support private networks, rural and indoor deployments early on. A majority of respondents believe full maturity is still 1-2 years away, at which point a critical mass of operators expects multi-vendor to be a reality.

We saw a recognition for the need to support requirements for key features such as multi-element antennas utilizing Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) and digital beamforming for high-precision beams to provide high-speed, high-capacity communications between a wider range of terminals. Compliance with certain emergency capabilities and regulatory requirements were also prominent concerns. Regardless of where any given operator ultimately falls on the adoption curve, it’s clear that more signs (and expectations) point to the importance of being ready sooner than initially anticipated. At the very least, it’s critical to understand ORAN’s impact as quickly as possible, where planned strategies meet business and technical goals and where they fall short.

We recently broke down what this exploration process looks like in our How to Set a Winning Open RAN Test Strategy post. Bottom line: test early, test in isolation, test different combinations, test end-to-end, emulate real traffic and radio scenarios along the way. Then repeat, repeat, repeat, with continuous testing driven by next-gen automation.

ORAN will be a learning curve. All the testing and planning that happens in advance of deployment is the first step. From there, it’s about building that confidence across architectures, processes and teams. For some, that will mean kicking off with a single-vendor approach and expanding out from there. Whatever the approach, we know no two journeys will be the same.

인용구

ORAN will be a learning curve. All the testing and planning that happens in advance of deployment is the first step. From there, it’s about building that confidence across architectures, processes and teams.

Partners in prime position

When we asked respondents who they plan to work with as a prime integrator, more than one-third responded that they’d be working with a systems integrator. Just one-fifth plan to engage a traditional RAN vendor, with fewer planning to rely on a new ORAN vendor. Only 8% planned to leverage an in-house team.

Operators are figuring out who they can trust to support such a largescale, complex, unprecedented initiative. This will prove a challenge in itself as vendor onboarding for Tier 1 operators is typically a substantial, intensive undertaking. Some operators may even find that their traditional internal criteria can’t be met by new ORAN vendors. There will be some risk, no matter how you cut it. All eyes are on testing to mitigate that risk at every stage of the process, eventually serving in a continuous validation capacity as changes occur in the live network.

Once again, it all comes down to confidence. There must be confidence in performance, robustness, scale, compliance, security, maintenance – and with the assured promise that costs will fall where they are supposed to.

Make no mistake, it is next-gen test and automation that will ultimately reveal the best path forward. No matter the approach, all roads seem to lead to ORAN. Now it’s just figuring out the best way to get there.

To learn more about Open RAN, read our new eBook: Open RAN – An Introduction.

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Stephen Douglas
Stephen Douglas

시장 전략 부서장

Stephen은 기술적 방향, 혁신적인 솔루션, 시장을 선도하는 획기적 기술을 정의할 수 있는 Spirent의 전략 부서에서 일하며, 큰 차이를 만들어냈습니다. 이동통신 업계에서 거의 20년이 가까운 시간을 보낸 Stephen은 차세대 기술 혁신의 중심에 서 있으며, 다중 서비스 제공 업체, 스타트업, 1티어 OEM이 혁신과 변혁을 이루어낼 수 있도록 업계의 다양한 부문에서 기량을 보여주었습니다. Stephen은 혁신과 사업의 성공을 막는 이기주의(silo)를 해결하고, 타파하고, 그 의미를 모호하게 만들기 위해 심혈을 기울이며, 기술을 열렬히 믿는 신봉자입니다.