Leading the Charge on Open RAN

Monitoring performance of the RAN is crucial for supporting greater interoperability with multiple vendor offerings.

Optical lanes with glowing circles

With 5G on the cusp of widespread adoption, the creation of more open standards for radio access network (RAN) equipment design has been widely viewed as crucial for speeding along progress throughout the industry. Open RAN has introduced a set of standards that allows interoperability between devices and interfaces, regardless of the manufacturer. This standardization opens the RAN segment of mobile telecom networks to increased scalability and flexibility because communications service providers (CSPs) can build out their networks with any Open RAN-compliant equipment. It also allows telecom equipment designers and manufacturers to segment or specialize without having to provide a complete suite of network elements.

The benefit of Open RAN standards is that they will increase collaboration and competition throughout the marketplace, which will have the net effect of bringing about much-needed innovation. That can only bode well for the growth of 5G.

Marching Orders for the U.S. Military and Open RAN

Because 5G holds tremendous promise and importance to the future of U.S. military communications, government regulations have been enacted to ensure that planning is conducted to have the proper 5G infrastructure in place. To address this, Congress enacted the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, which the president signed into law in December 2022. Included in this act is a requirement that the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force put in place a plan for Open RAN implementation across each respective military branch. The Department of Defense (DoD) is required by July 30, 2023, to establish a date when all military installations will deploy 5G broadband infrastructure.

It Won’t All Be Smooth Sailing

Opening the RAN will present challenges. One of the biggest is the siloed nature of the RAN market. As a result, participants in this new ecosystem will be compelled to consider:

  • Vendor interoperability
  • Universal governing standards
  • Increased surface attacks

Issues that opening the RAN will present include adapting existing frameworks, processes, and governance to support more interoperability and an open environment to integrate multiple vendor offerings. Failure to configure RAN with these issues in mind could lead to more challenges with widespread adoption and system integration.

Supporting 5G and Beyond

Open RAN offers the promise of meeting the needs of future technology requirements, as well as subscriber demands. An Open RAN environment will inevitably lead to improved service and network performance for new technologies such as 5G, 6G, and beyond. Participants will realize significant benefits, such as lower total cost of ownership (TCO), improved flexibility, reduced expenses, and better user experience. The scalability and speed afforded by Open RAN will be a game-changer.
Service providers who participate in opening the RAN and building the right infrastructure will have the opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation. Open RAN presents a foundational ecosystem that can foster new offerings for multiple vendors. It also holds the potential to lower barriers to entry and improve competition, which is good news for stakeholders.

The Key to Open RAN Success: Visibility

One of the keys to Open RAN success is gaining end-through-end visibility. NETSCOUT’s RAN solution offers unparalleled insights into monitoring and performance of the RAN. With decades of experience in the industry and a scalable cloud-based platform, NETSCOUT offers a best-in-class solution that provides visibility into any network’s performance and supports open cloud-based and hybrid networks, empowering CSPs to build out their networks and achieve Open RAN success.

Learn more about NETSCOUT 5G RAN offerings.