We drive openness to let the ecosystem innovate on the 5G platform

Ericsson is a key driver of openness in mobile networks. We have seen the value of openness through all mobile generations. With 4G, openness paved the way for the arrival of disruptive internet companies and the emergence of a new app ecosystem. This ecosystem was made possible by interoperability between different service providers, including global roaming for the device eco system. With 5G, we expect the impact to be even greater. We are moving technological boundaries forward to create the biggest innovation platform ever with 5G for any industry and society at large.

What policy makers need to know about RAN

Native 5G RAN, virtual RAN or Open RAN – it is crucial that merits of technical performance and competitiveness of solutions and architectures decide market outcomes. This overview of the evolution of mobile radio access networks explains important concepts and highlights what policy makers should consider when it comes to driving market-based competition.

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Consider security for Open RAN in 5G

5G is the biggest innovation platform ever. It needs to be inherently secure. When evolving towards RAN virtualization, with virtual RAN or Open RAN (O-RAN), a risk-based approach is needed to address security.

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Generating business value in an open world

Ericsson supports customers in identifying new opportunities early and capitalizing on them as quickly as possible. To do this, we look for ways to lead the industry in becoming more agile, and to speed up development of innovative functions and features required for new use cases. Our CTO Erik Ekudden takes a more in-depth look at why openness in mobile networks is important, and how it works.

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5G platform: ecosystem of standards

5G platform: ecosystem of standards

Driving openness in 5G and beyond to foster new application development and new business is critically important.

Openness comes in different shapes and forms. With 5G we have created a powerful innovation platform that can be used to meet the communication needs of virtually any sector of industry or society. It has been specified with open APIs and network slicing allowing new services and applications to be developed for a range of new use cases and business opportunities.

A central part of openness in 5G networks is the horizontal architecture, using cloud and virtualization technologies, allowing for a separation of hardware and software , which is based on open industry standards and open source. This has been driven by Ericsson from the inception of 5G, gaining widespread industry support both among telecom and cloud players, and it forms the basis for the evolution of both 5G core and 5G radio networks.

Our approach to openness involves coordinated efforts across standardization bodies, open source projects, alliances and partnerships. On top of our work with 5G in 3GPP, we are an active contributing member of the IEEE, IETF, ONAP, O-RAN Alliance and more – all of which aim to achieve global scale with a strong ecosystem, boost innovation and help customers differentiate.

The role of the 3GPP

3GPP is a large, open and established ecosystem with standardized interfaces; anyone can enter on FRAND terms.

Today, 3GPP has specified more than 100 interfaces (see image above). Much of the work carried out within 3GPP is designed to ensure that these interfaces are kept up to date with latest technology developments in an open contribution driven process. As a result, there is a great diversity of companies providing a range of products for every area of the network – from user devices, to the RAN, to the core, to transport, to applications. The incredible success of the 3GPP vision is evident every day as we use our devices to make video calls, check the weather, map out our driving routes, and so on.

In combination with 3GPP, we are actively contributing to O-RAN and all its specifications, focusing our efforts on open multi-domain orchestration and virtualization as a foundation for openness.

Over time, we believe that the performance-cost ratio of the O-RAN specification and off-the-shelf hardware could improve to make O-RAN, including low-layer split (LLS), an attractive complement to existing high-performing, energy-efficient networks, thereby stimulating innovation further.

We are committed and working with all relevant parties in the industry to innovate on a global scale for the benefit of the whole industry.

Open RAN terminology

Open RAN
Industry term for open radio access network architecture. A RAN with open interoperable interfaces, RAN virtualization, and big data and AI-enabled RAN.

Virtualized RAN
5G becoming software-defined and programmable, generating additional RAN architecture flexibility, platform harmonization and simplification.

Refers to the O-RAN Alliance.

Refers to initiatives driven by the Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP's) OpenRAN Project Group.

Cloud RAN
A virtualized RAN that is designed to be cloud native, built on a future-proof architecture and incorporating key elements such as microservices, CI/CD and containerization.