Moving into the 21st century the telco industry has seen a multitude of disruptions which have left CSPs (Communication Service Providers) struggling to maintain healthy balance sheets. Handsets changed to become smartphones with whole ecosystems built around them. Birth of application stores and open OS platforms allowed anyone to develop creative applications. Out of the millions of applications that are advertised today some of the applications offered rich communication services which bettered those offered by CSPs, leaving them to profit only from the basic connectivity that they are providing. Thankfully, a new digital revolution is on its way providing new opportunities for CSPs who are ready for new endeavors. Along with it are substantial changes in the mobile networks that are coming to impact operator businesses in a positive way.

In order to stay at the forefront of the digital revolution, CSPs have been looking into solutions that would transform their network infrastructure to become more flexible, agile and cost efficient. One of these solutions is O-RAN. O-RAN is an alliance composed of some of the most notable mobile operators across different regions of the world that are driving an open RAN reference architecture for fulfilling a set of three major goals. First, it aims to disaggregate the RAN portion of the mobile network with well standardized interfaces in order to build a large vendor ecosystem and increase competition with the ultimate goal of reducing RAN investment costs, similarly to what the IT industry experienced in the 2000s through virtualization of the IT infrastructure.  Second, it offers to build the RAN over a virtualized network that can run on commercial off-the-shelf hardware. In addition to the CapEx savings this will eventually minimize the roll-out of new hardware with the introduction of each new technology, which in turn will help to reduce OpEx and greatly improve deployment speeds of new features. Third, it adds an intelligent control mechanism to optimize the network and vows to enhance performance beyond the capability of conventional means for capacity, coverage and energy consumption.

Over the past years since the foundation of the O-RAN alliance, it has seen a rise in new entrants into the market that are gaining traction with some operators. P.I. Works management and automation solutions are integrated over a true multi-vendor platform, which in addition to providing support for all the incumbent OEMs, already has started to support O-RAN equipment providers and will continue to do so as more of them appear in CSP networks. P.I. Works can accommodate any new O-RAN OEM into its automation platform within 3-4 weeks from receiving a sample log file from its customers.

A uniform network quality is paramount across a network regardless of participating OEMs. Naturally, not all vendors have the same implementation depth to manage, optimize and automate processes in mobile networks at the same level of quality. Therefore, it is necessary to have a management and automation platform that is truly multi-vendor capable to close this gap. In order to do so it first needs to understand each vendor implementation to identify the buttons and switches that are needed to perform changes. Secondly, vast optimization experience is required in order to apply the same desired effect using different vendor equipment in complex heterogeneous networks.  

P.I. Works is ready to help CSPs who are planning a migration towards O-RAN by enabling a smooth roll-out on their path towards uniform network quality while being equipped with a transparent service monitoring and assurance capability. An impartial and uniform view to the network across vendor areas and layers is essential for identifying accountability. Also, P.I. Works can offer a field proven scalable automated management platform which is tested in a variety of networks world-wide that can help CSPs in providing a seamless user experience to its end users across their entire network. 

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