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Open RAN: Accelerating innovation and flexibility- A review

The 3rd edition of Open RAN India 2024 International Conference was organized by Bharat Exhibitions on Friday, February 16 at Hotel Shangri La, New Delhi. It was a well-attended event with experts from various verticals holding discussions and dialogue.

Communications Today was the exclusive media partner.

Anil Tandan, Director General, Broadband India Forum, gave the welcome address where he spoke about the O-RAN ecosystem. “Diversification and growth of O-RAN is the key to innovation. The support from the government is also pivotal in accelerating 5G networks in the near future and it could also be the stepping stone for 6G rollout too which is going to happen in the end of this decade too”, he said.

Guest of Honour, G. Narendra Nath, Joint Secretary, National Security Council Secretariat, Government of India spoke on vendor diversity, O-RAN Alliance and telecom infrastructure. “To ensure quality, security of the components is highly crucial in the O-RAN ecosystem. We evaluate all the vendors before putting them on board, via the Trusted Telecom Portal”, he said.

Dr. Rajkumar Upadhyay, CEO, C-DoT was the Chief Guest at the conference. ‘’I have no doubt in saying that O-RAN will succeed in India. But at the same time, I am also reiterating that O-RAN cannot continue in its traditional model. It needs a revamp. Today the network is cloud-based, which is already disaggregated, in a way cloudification being the stepping stone for O-RAN. India being a prowess in technology, the country has a great chance in O-RAN technology in the days to come.” During the session, Dr. Upadhyay stressed up on indigenous Open RAN initiatives in the country and how it help build a secure network system. He also called upon maximum participation of domestic industry and academia to develop solutions including chips that will help contribute to the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

Jagbir Singh, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone Idea said, “Cost and efficiency is the key to O-RAN deployment and the role played by various agencies is extremely important. Multiple companies are willing to supply the chipsets but deployments of 4G and 5G need to be refreshed for O-RAN to be more successful and compatible, making way for 6G”.

Narendra Kumar Rawat, Vice President (Technology), Mavenir gave the Industry Keynote address. He spoke about the government’s role in deploying O-RAN in the country. He said, “Creation of O-RAN ecosystem is very important, and the government is creating the trusted source and bridging the gap between vendors and players. The IoT lab at C-DoT is a great step toward deployment of O-RAN and ensuring its success. The bilateral relation between USA and India has also been a great initiative for O-RAN.”

Saurabh Mittal, VP & Head Standards & Technology, Bharti Airtel in his address said, “Challenges and struggle with O-RAN is very much prominent but we all need to find a way out of it. We have really undermined the O-RAN in real time processing, which needs to be addressed”.

Shashi Dharan, Managing Director, Bharat Exhibitions, in his Vote of Thanks said, ‘Today here at the conference, we have witnessed how the Indian 5G ecosystem is gearing up to be at the front haul of technology adoption and it’s time we make the most of it.’’

Session 2 was for the technical presentations.
Jeevan Talegaonkar, Vice President (5G Business), Reliance Jio was session chair. He spoke at length regarding the Diverse Monetization Strategies for Open RAN vis a vis Private Networks and Enterprise Solutions.

Vikalp Dutt, Director – Sales Engineering, India region, Mavenir, spoke about the role Mavenir is playing in deployment of O-RAN technologies in the country. He said, “Open RAN principles present an efficient way of building networks that ensures interoperability, virtualization, vendor flexibility, element security, and a cloud-native approach that reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) across the radio access networks.’’

Tsunehiko Chiba, Chief Wireless Architect, CTO Office, VIAVI Solutions said, “With a comprehensive solution suite at the Summit today, we have already crafted a way for O-RAN ecosystem where partners will deliberate on its challenges and deployment models. Testing at scale is crucial to ensure O-RAN’s optimum performance and interoperability. We at Viavi Solutions offer the best and comprehensive end to end OPEN RAN test suite to analyze the lifecycle of RAN networks.’’

Mahesh Basavaraju, Market Segment Manager – Wireless Communications, Rohde & Schwarz, said, “With the technical evolution and motivation of Open RAN, radio access networks (RANs) are made open, disaggregated, and intelligent. This technological evolution fosters future RAN to build on virtual network elements, white-box hardware and standardized interfaces”.

Ashok Kumar, DDG UPW LSA, Department of Telecommunications was one of the guest speakers during the technical session. He said, “Acceleration is the key now, Open RAN has taken up speed like never before now. Interface between BBU and RU and its application is the way ahead now, which will make O-RAN operational”. O-RAN adoption challenges through an operator’s lens, Comparison of TCO and performance as compared to classical RAN, The Critical Role of Testing in Open RAN Success, Status of O-RAN implementation in India & Globally and Security in Open RAN were some of the issues discussed during the session.

The third and final session
Panel discussion was held between Ashok Kumar, DDG UPW LSA, Department of Telecommunications; Ashish Bhatia, Director – Sales Engineering, India Region, Mavenir; Radhakant Das, Head of Technology & Engineering, Telecom Networks, TCS; and Alok Shankar Pandey, Additional General Manager (IT), Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India.

The conference was partnered by Mavenir, Rohde & Schwarz, Viavi Solutions, Techspire Services, C-DoT, Communications Today and Broadband India Forum.

CT Bureau

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