Vodafone creating indoor OpenRAN solution for business customers

Noting the expansion of the long-standing partnership between the two companies to bring the benefits of OpenRAN to more users of its network, especially within the corporate environment, UK communications provider Vodafone and software company Mavenir have revealed that they are working on a solution for small cells, based on OpenRAN technology to provide internal connectivity for business customers.

Explaining the rationale for the launch, the companies said that a powerful internal solution for small cells could offer several advantages to business customers. The simple plug-and-play installation means that the cover can be implemented immediately, allowing seamless connectivity for any device in the office.

They also say that the interoperability of the OpenRAN ecosystem paves the way for long-term flexibility when working with a wider range of vendors for elements such as radio modules, baseband hardware and gateways.

Vodafone sees Open RAN as capable help him separate the hardware and software components of the network to select the optimal solution providers for specific roles, rather than their own end-to-end solutions, on which most RAN technologies are built. The result is that it can bind operators with a small number of suppliers.

Based on the interoperability concept, Open RAN standardizes the development of hardware and software components, which means that telecom operators will be able to supply equipment from a wider variety of networks.

The open RAN is also being considered by Vodafone as a catalyst in the RAN domain to become an organization offering software defined and virtualized network with autonomous operation using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

So far, OpenRAN’s implementation has focused on outdoor connectivity, but there is significant potential for this technology in an office environment, said Vodafone UK Chief Network Officer Andrea Dona.

“A simple plug-and-play product that incorporates all the attractive benefits of the OpenRAN philosophy is one that can build on our strength to provide indoor coverage through both our macro network and our custom solutions,” Donna said.

Initially providing 4G coverage, the solution is designed for business customers who occupy medium to large office areas, small cell plug-and-play equipment aims to provide complete mobile coverage in every corner of the office. The design of the small indoor call solution is based on OpenRAN’s interoperability philosophy.

In this case, the software will be provided by Mavenir (Open vRAN) while developer of broadband software and firmware Sercomm will provide radio hardware. The design and flexibility of the small cell solution means that it will be compatible with other OpenRAN-compatible vendors.

Indoor development small cell solution is the next stage in the long-standing relationship between Vodafone and Mavenir. In August 2020, Vodafone launched the first OpenRAN website for live traffic in the UK. The sites, including the Royal Welsh Showground in Powys, feature Mavenir software and Sunwave radios. Vodafone and Mavenir will continue this partnership to deploy more OpenRAN sites in the future.

“Mavenir is pleased to partner with Vodafone in Open RAN and work in the UK on their initiative to transform the radio network, proving the exceptional flexibility of Open vRAN,” added Mavenir Senior Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Virtit Cauchy.

“We are especially proud to work in the field in Vodafone’s sales network and in Newbury Open RAN testing and verification laboratorysupporting Vodafone’s efforts to improve the ecosystem. “