With 5G wireless technology being on the rise, most businesses are looking forward to a collaboration with some of the well-known telecom providers in the industry. Although it might look like a simple task of upgrading the current 4G LTE infrastructure to become compatible with 5G, the real-time scenario is far more different. For instance, the 5G architecture will include a higher number of small cells and antennas to support the high-speed data transmission with a speed of 20 Gbps downlink and 10 Gbps uplink.
However, the most important part of the 5G network will be the radio access network implementation. Until and unless a strong connection is built between the end devices and the core structure, data transference won’t be easy. Furthermore, signal interference will be there, which can demean the network performance. This is where the concept of establishing an Open RAN comes into play. It not only allows companies to build the architecture from scratch with maximum scalability but also prevents monopoly in the market.
One of the key features of Open RAN is that one can collaborate with multiple vendors to leverage their best offerings and build the complete network. While this type of independence is great, there are numerous challenges businesses can face. Choosing the ideal Open RAN vendors for deploying 5G is not a walk in the park. If these challenges are not addressed from the very beginning, there will be numerous consequences concerning network quality, performance, flexibility, and so on.
Having said that, we have explained the major trifles that businesses encounter while choosing different vendors for 5G Open RAN deployment.
First and foremost, the participation of different Open RAN vendors for 5G deployment will bring various types of technologies on board. The configurations will differ, which is why it is not so easy to match their compatibility with one another. If the issue is not addressed immediately, the network performance will take a direct hit. In extreme cases, it will become impossible to establish a seamless communication between the end devices and the core architecture.
Different Open RAN vendors have varying charges for their services. Not planning the budget from beforehand can cause the overheads to increase beyond the limit. 5G implementation and deployment itself is costly and if businesses collaborate with vendors sampling at incomprehensible price rates, there can be financial losses. Furthermore, businesses also need to consider the costs involved in maintaining the overall network and communication channels for years to come. So, choosing vendors without caring much about the service charges can be a huge issue.
Another major challenge that businesses might face while choosing the Open RAN 5G deployment vendors is a striking absence of adaptability. In other words, vendors can find it difficult to change situations in the future, especially if the change’s source is not within their domain. For instance, let’s suppose that a business wants to increase the number of baseband units to accommodate more users in the mmWave bandwidth range. However, this can create problems for other vendors supplying small cells, antennas, and others since they will have to build rapid solutions to comply with the BBU architecture. Therefore, the lack of adaptability can create huge issues amongst different Open RAN vendors for 5G deployment.
Lastly, many businesses do need to consider the complex architecture of hiring multiple vendors for a single project. While working with so many different entities, it might not be a piece of cake, especially when it is about deploying the 5G solutions and the Open RAN network. There can be issues with technological compatibility, compliance with industry regulations and standards, and many more. If these issues aren’t resolved at the earliest, it can cause huge issues since it will be difficult for you to work collaboratively with all these vendors.
Now that we have discussed the major challenges to be faced while choosing the best vendor for Open RAN deployment in 5G, it is understandable how difficult the situation can get. If the choices are not made cautiously, it can have serious impacts on the overall network performance and signal transferability. This is why the following section will further talk about the major factors to consider while choosing a deployment vendor for 5G Open RAN.:
It is imperative for businesses to consider a deployment vendor who has been working in the concerned domain for years now. For instance, vendors distributing antennas for telecom providers must have enough expertise in dealing with small cell antennas required for the 5G network. Similarly, a vendor who is meant to handle the higher levels of PIM in the Open RAN network should have in-depth knowledge of the same. If that’s not the case, it can create further issues since 5G is in its nascent stage and developments or modifications are bound to come.
One of the most important factors to look into is the availability of different equipment units that can be suitable with the current network load and the chosen mmWave bandwidth. For instance, businesses should hire vendors who can supply both micro and femtocells so that a hybrid architecture can be created. Here, a mix of both cells can be used to reduce power consumption, minimize carbon footprint, and enhance the overall network performance. Similarly, vendors offering baseband units for the Open RAN network should be capable enough to adjust the fronthaul as per the desired output.
Also, it is crucial for businesses to opt for a vendor before deploying 5G Open RAN network is scalable. If the vendor fails to adapt to the changing scenarios, there can be issues in accommodating more users or higher demand in the coming years. Similarly, if the network in question is not scalable, it might become difficult to make rooms for newer cells, antennas, or baseband units. Therefore, the best option is to go with a vendor who can scale their offerings and grow as per the network demand. For instance, they should be able to deploy advanced antennas to keep the power consumption the same but with increased responsibility and sensitivity.
Lastly, businesses do need to look for vendors who support the idea of interoperability instead of monopoly. In other words, the vendors should be able to collaborate with one another and work collaboratively without any conflict. Furthermore, they do need to design network architectures so that different parts can be compliant with one another without any further complication. It might not be easy to deal with vendors on the principle of interoperability. This is why the best solution is to ensure all vendors agree on the network plan businesses have for their 5G Open RAN.
Open RAN is one of the best ways to deploy 5G
and implement this new wireless
communication technology. However, since
multiple vendors will be involved, there can be
issues with interoperability, compliance, and
so on. This is why the challenges must be
addressed for mitigation from the beginning
only so that the network performance and
signal quality aren’t compromised.