Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are in the process of modernizing and disaggregating Radio Access Networks (RAN) to support the demands of 5G. To diversify their infrastructure investments, CSPs are transforming from physical to virtualized (vRAN) and Open RAN. By abstracting hardware and software and then opening the RAN to multi-vendor engagement, vRAN and Open RAN will allow CSPs to monetize the RAN and differentiate in the marketplace. 

While Open RAN offers CSPs the freedom to control their technological path forward, they will need to dedicate time to optimize the performance of each network location to ensure they are capturing the benefits of this new architecture. This involves adjusting the configuration of network components to address load and customer needs and is an increasingly complex process in the 5G era. To help analyze, monitor, and program multi-vendor network performance, the Open RAN architecture includes a RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC).

The RIC allows application developers to tap into network data, process it and modify RAN behavior. While this capability was previously available as self-optimizing networks (SON), Open RAN allows for instant data access, faster response times and common, standards-based APIs. VMware’s recently released RIC provides an SDK that simplifies the development and integration of two types of applications that use RIC data. xApps will have near-real-time access to data, while rApps will rely on periodical data feeds (normally in 10-30 second intervals). 

Today, VMware and P.I. Works, a leading provider of AI-driven mobile network management solutions, are announcing a partnership, with P.I. Works adapting its RAN automation solutions as rApps compatible with VMware’s Non-Real-Time RIC platform. Modern 5G RAN configurations involve the calibration of thousands of parameters. In comparison, 4G and prior generations required the adjustment of hundreds of attributes at the most. The operational lifecycle to manually set up, monitor and continuously optimize the configuration of thousands of 5G sites can therefore rapidly spiral out of control and directly impact a CSP’s bottom line. 

To help relieve some of these demands, P.I. Works’ rApps automate complex RAN aspects such as energy consumption, code optimization, coverage tuning, neighbor optimization, outage compensation, and load balancing. This is done across both existing and Open RAN multi-vendor, multi-technology networks. VMware and P.I. Works are offering CSPs the control they need over the pace of their 5G network transition.

Lakshmi Mandyam, Vice President of Product Management and Partner Ecosystems, Service Provider & Edge, VMware said, “We are committed to delivering world-class network management solutions that not just meet but exceed customer expectations. Our collaboration with P.I. Works adds advanced automation and optimization capabilities to VMware’s RIC platform to help service providers make the most of their RAN modernization efforts.”

P.I. Works’ developers benefitted from access to VMware’s RIC SDK. The SDK contains tools and features including open APIs and sample code to accelerate the creation of xApps and rApps.  VMware’s RIC is designed to run on any cloud infrastructure, giving app developers like P.I. Works the confidence their applications will have broad industry appeal and interest.

Djakhongir Siradjev, Chief Technology Officer at P.I. Works noted: “As a global provider of mobile network automated management solutions, P.I. Works has always seen the need for open and standardized network landscapes in order to achieve the interoperability and thus efficiency needed to maximize subscriber experiences. We believe that our collaboration with VMware will pave way for this within the O-RAN ecosystem and drive innovation to build a better, more sustainable future for the industry.”

Together we look forward to partnering with CSPs to accelerate Open RAN rollout and improve network performance.

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