Nokia and AT&T leverage advanced intelligence of the Open RAN-compliant near real-time RAN intelligent controller with native E2 in successful trial

  • Nokia and AT&T successfully trial near real-time RIC xApps over the E2 interface; trial utilised Nokia’s near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) platform on AT&T’s network
  • Nokia is the first major RAN vendor to offer native support for O-RAN E2
  • Near real-time xApps deliver RAN programmability leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities hosted on the platform

Espoo, Finland – Nokia and AT&T today announced the successful trial of innovative near real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) xApps with the native E2 interface. Nokia is the first major RAN vendor to natively support the Open RAN compliant near real-time RIC and the E2 interface for running xApps. This trial helped validate the promise of the near real-time RIC and xApp approach for advanced 5G use cases.

The trial was implemented on Nokia’s commercial near real-time RIC platform, running on Nokia AirScale base stations on AT&T’s network. In this trial, near real-time xApps utilised E2SM Policy Services to dynamically perform targeted RAN optimisation. The benefit of near real-time RIC is that it can optimise services for specific user groups, different frequency layers, or based on Quality of Service (QoS) Class Identifiers in 5G networks. Nokia’s near real-time RIC platform and xApps also bring capabilities to utilise existing interfaces to enable RAN optimisation use cases that suit the operator networks.

With an increasing volume of mobile connections, operators need to find innovative and cost-efficient ways for optimising radio network performance. Near real-time RIC enables 5G use cases implemented with xApps, which leverage AI/ML-based optimisation algorithms to dynamically improve RAN performance. Examples of Nokia’s applications include Advanced Traffic Steering xApp for distributing mobile traffic across different frequency layers, which frees more bandwidth for mobile users, and Anomaly Detection xApp, which uses machine learning to quickly detect and classify irregular behaviour patterns in the RAN.

Robert Soni, VP – RAN Technology at AT&T said: “AT&T is excited about the potential benefits offered by the O-RAN E2 interface. We are pleased to see the maturing of the Nokia Service Enablement Platform in consecutive trials over the last few years. The results of the trial demonstrated that E2 interface allows RAN policies to be updated several orders of magnitude faster than through legacy OAM interfaces, and thus unlocking new methods for RAN optimisation.”

Mark Atkinson, Head of Radio Access Networks at Nokia, commented: “Our Open RAN compliant near real-time RAN Intelligent Controller adds a new intelligence layer to the radio network. Together with AT&T, we have demonstrated that near real-time RIC has the potential to become a key enabler for RAN programmability. We believe in embracing openness and collaboration to drive innovation across the telecom industry and to harness the true power of 5G.”

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