After announcing earlier this year that the xRAN Forum and C-RAN Alliance were merging, the O-RAN Alliance announced new board members—including Verizon—and a collaboration with the Linux Foundation on open source software.
Verizon’s participation in the O-RAN Alliance isn’t a surprise given its work on Open RAN initiatives and its earlier involvement in the xRAN Forum—it was a contributor to the xRAN fronthaul specification that was released in April. That specification defines open interfaces between the remote radio unit/head (RRU/RRH) and the baseband unit (BBU) to simplify interoperability between suppliers.
Reliance Jio and TIM are also new O-RAN board members.
“It’s encouraging to see the O-RAN Alliance off to such a strong start and gaining momentum as we welcome three new board members,” said Andre Fuetsch, chairman of the O-RAN Alliance, president-AT&T Labs and CTO of AT&T, in a statement. “It’s important that the wireless industry continues to come together to drive forward O-RAN’s goals for open networking, software, and virtualization in global wireless networks especially as 5G is closer than ever.”
The O-RAN Alliance is part of a broader initiative across the industry to fundamentally change the way networks are built. Operators have said they want to eliminate vendor lock-in and have more choices so that they can buy equipment that works together despite being from competing suppliers.
“We are excited to continue our drive towards an open radio network specification for the wireless industry,” said Ed Chan, senior vice president and chief technology architect at Verizon, in the press release. “We will leverage the foundational success of xRAN to accelerate the work in O-RAN. Verizon looks forward to contributing to the success of O-RAN in realizing network components' interoperability at a global scale to create the next generation of flexible wireless networks for our customers."
O-RAN also said it has started collaboration arrangements with The Linux Foundation to establish an open source software community for the creation of open source RAN software. Collaboration with The Linux Foundation will enable the creation of open source software supporting the O-RAN architecture and interfaces.
O-RAN released its inaugural white paper, “O-RAN: Towards an Open and Smart RAN,” which describes the O-RAN architecture to drive a more cost-effective, intelligent RAN with open interoperable interfaces for 5G and beyond.