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Open Source Infrastructure Software for vRAN Deployment and Operation

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© HEAVY READING | WIND RIVER | OPEN SOURCE INFRASTRUCTURE SOFTWARE | AUGUST 2019 4 are needed. Distributed edge cloud management is the key capability of the open source software infrastructure platform StarlingX. With a distributed edge infrastructure, operators can apply cloud-like operating models to vRAN. This has advantages for the vRAN itself – for example, scaling baseband resources according to demand (e.g., during busy hours), power savings at quiet times, and executing in-service upgrades without having to visit the tower. Distributed edge infrastructure also enables the operator to deploy additional functions and services on the same server clusters and locations using the same tools. For example, at a multi-access edge compute (MEC) site in the aggregation network, the operator may want to deploy a 5G core functions, end-user services, content, and applications, in addition to a vRAN baseband pool. OPEN SOURCE RAN SOFTWARE To deploy virtual RAN on cloud infrastructure, operators need air interface software. RAN software stacks are now available from numerous vendors for LTE – usually from new entrant and challenger vendors – and several suppliers plan to offer 5G New Radio (NR) air interface stacks commercially in 2020. These are typically commercially supported proprietary stacks. In the RAN, open source is generally targeted at the infrastructure layer (the focus of this paper). However, interest in open source air interface, and open source RAN more generally, is increasing and there are several projects of significance, as shown in Figure 2. Figure 2: Open Source RAN Initiatives Initiative Commentary Open Air Interface Software Alliance • Leading organization promoting open source air interface • LTE code available from Rel-8 onwards • 5G NR air interface software under development • Code used for demos and development; not yet production ready • Broad industry and academic support O-RAN Software Community • A collaboration between the O-RAN Alliance and Linux Foundation (LF) • Aims to enable the development of open source software for disaggregated RANs • Leverage LF network projects, especially in the edge domain (e.g., Akraino), and align with 3GPP • First high profile project is an open source RAN Intelligent Controller TIP OpenCellular • Several project groups working on open mobile access – for example: - OpenCellular is focused on open source software-defined wireless access platform to improve connectivity in remote areas - 5G NR is specifying disaggregated "white box" small cell/base stations - Open RAN focused on programmable RANs based on general purpose processing platforms (GPPPs) and disaggregated software Source: Heavy Reading Essential to open source RAN are general purpose processors to run baseband software. Classic radio basebands run on ARM and will continue to do so. However, interest in x86 is

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