Turkish delight for Juniper as Vodafone tests its RIC in Open RAN lab

  • Vodafone has been testing Open RAN elements in its R&D lab in Turkey
  • It set up a test architecture with Juniper Networks and Parallel Wireless
  • Juniper’s RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) software was part of the test
  • Turkey was the birthplace of Juniper’s RIC
  • RIC systems will be critical to the automation and management of open, agile, multi-vendor RAN deployments

Juniper Networks has enhanced its Open RAN reputation with news of tests conducted by Vodafone Turkey that included its RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) software deployed in a multi-vendor architecture that also included cloud-native elements provided by Parallel Wireless, one of the pioneers of the Open RAN sector.

The evaluation conducted in Vodafone Turkey’s labs, and which are due to be replicated in the operator’s test network, focused on “tenant-aware admission control use cases,” and involved the use of Juniper’s RIC platform plus associated xApps and rApps, as well as Parallel Wireless RAN software, to “personalize services and provide superior user experiences. Real-time tracking and enforcement of radio resources across the RAN enables mission-critical users – for example, hospitals and schools – to receive prioritized mobile data services delivery,” noted Juniper. 

The tests have been designed to enable “services and applications to be managed, optimized and mitigated automatically by the RAN, built on real-time data insights from its own performance,” using Open RAN-compliant elements and, thus, enabling the operator to select best-of-breed elements if required and also integrate third-party xApps or rApps, something that Juniper claims is easy to do with its RIC platform “using UI-based onboarding and deployment tools coupled with flexibility to select between either network-based or SDK-based APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).” 

Paco Martin, Head of Open RAN at Vodafone Group, stated: “Vodafone has a clear vision that all mobile network radio infrastructure should be open - enabling rapid adoption of innovative services. We see this as a key stepping stone to rich innovation and collaboration, the only way that groundbreaking new use cases in 4G and 5G can be developed and cost-effectiveness maximized. In order to accelerate progress in this exciting journey, I am very pleased that Vodafone is hosting a lab and field trial for tenant-aware admission control using O-RAN interfaces, alongside an ecosystem of like-minded technology partners, including Juniper Networks and Parallel Wireless. By working together, we will be able to build smarter networks, better user experiences and drive stronger sustainability measures for B2B use cases.”

It’s no coincidence that Juniper is involved in Open RAN tests and trials in Turkey: It engineered its way into the RIC R&D scene by striking a deal in January 2021 to take the early RIC work undertaken by Netsia, the tech R&D unit at Türk Telekom, and develop it further, all the while ensuring that the resulting platform would not only conform to Open RAN specifications but also be suitable for deployment by Türk Telekom. As part of that deal, Juniper gained all the IPR and rights, and so has bene able to take it into tests with other operators at will. (See Juniper joins the Open RAN RIC club.)

Open RAN, and RIC developments in particular, are set to feature prominently during the upcoming MWC22 event in Barcelona. (See SCOPE – the five hot trends for MWC22.)

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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