Vodafone, Intel to co-chair new OpenRAN project group for TIP

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TIP is an engineering-focused initiative geared toward reimagining the traditional approach to building telecom networks.

Vodafone and Intel will co-chair a new project group within the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) that’s aimed at reducing the costs associated with building mobile networks and enabling easier market entry for smaller vendors.

The project will focus on implementation of RAN solutions that can be deployed on General Purpose Processing Platforms, thus enabling a sustainable development stream, according to an update provided by TIP Chairman Axel Clauberg of Deutsche Telekom.

TIP held its second annual TIP Summit last week in Santa Clara, California, where stakeholders discussed their progress on various projects.

The team also provided an update on the TIP vRAN Fronthaul group that was founded this past May with the goal of creating an ecosystem and a path toward commercial deployment of a vRAN architecture.

The vRAN group has defined several use cases proposed by major service providers and demonstrated early proof-of-concepts in TIP Community Labs at Facebook and CableLabs showcasing the feasibility and benefits of the vRAN architecture in a single-vendor environment.

Plans are being developed for multivendor, commercial-grade proof-of-concept (PoC) deployments within TIP that will showcase the feasibility and key benefits of the architecture in real-world scenarios. Member companies involved in the PoC deployments include service providers, remote radio unit vendors, software integrators and OEMs. They'll be actively working to unbundle their solutions, integrate with other vendors and test their solutions with mutual interoperability as a key goal, according to an update by Richard MacKenzie of BT and Andrew Dunkin of Vodafone, the project group co-chairs.

MacKenzie and Dunkin say that such interoperability with different vendors is made possible by an open fronthaul interface that is being shared among member companies and that will be openly published under RAND licensing terms.

TIP also announced the launch of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Applied Machine Learning (ML) Project Group, co-chaired by Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica. The objective of this project group is to define and share proven practices, models and technical requirements for applying AI and ML to reduce the cost of planning and operating telecom networks, and to understand and leverage customer behavior in order to deliver a better experience.

TIP was launched at Mobile World Congress in 2016 and describes itself as an engineering-focused initiative geared toward reimagining the traditional approach to building and deploying telecom network infrastructure. The TIP community is now more than 500 member companies strong.  

RELATED: Facebook, Deutsche Telekom double down on millimeter wave tech at 60 GHz

At the inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas in San Francisco in September, TIP announced that it was launching the Millimeter Wave Networks Project Group to focus on use cases, including deploying mmWave to homes, businesses and apartment buildings, as well as providing mobile backhaul and establishing dense connectivity for smart city applications. The mmWave group is tapping data and lessons learned from Facebook’s Terragraph solution, a proof-of-concept system that tackled the sorts of limitations that initially restricted the 60 GHz spectrum to indoor use.