Nokia Today: What Is Open RAN, and Why Is It Important?

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5G is here, and its potential uses are staggering. From the medical field to the transportation industry, it has major implications for the way we currently live, work and play.

While it’s critical that 5G is developed in the right way, it’s not the only technology changing the connectivity landscape. That’s where Open RAN comes in, said Sandro Tavares, the Global Head of Mobile Networks Marketing for Nokia, making life much easier for everyone if all units play nicely together by utilizing open standards.

“It was decided by the initial groups that were working with this, either the TIP project or the O-RAN alliance, that it would be beneficial for the industry that these interfaces between the different building blocks of the radio network would be standardized,” Tavares said. “So, you could have operators or projects utilizing 5G solutions from different vendors into the same radio network, and it would also reduce the barrier for entry for new vendors in this domain.”

An Open RAN-compliant system would allow for much more innovation, Tavares said, as more companies are thinking about how to utilize networks.

“You have a stronger and more secure ecosystem of telecom vendors, so our customers have more choice, and one player pushes the other,” he said. “On top of that, the fact that the O-RAN alliance standards define a new element, exposing APIs to developers, is fundamentally transformational. Now, any software developer can learn these APIs and start developing new services based on these APIs, as well.”

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