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Carrier Networking Service Provider Mobility (4G/5G)
3 minute read

'Ecosystem Clusters' Will Help Ease Open RAN Deployment

For service providers to be successful in an open world, interoperability and integration of disparate vendors will be paramount.

Open technologies that welcome a more diverse ecosystem of vendors to play a part will pave the way for the software-defined, agile network that service provider aspire to deliver.

Exactly how vast that diverse vendor ecosystem grows remains to be seen.

Open technologies, competition and integrated solutions

Telcos like the idea of open technologies, such as Open RAN. But they’re less enthused by the labor required to make such virtualized, disaggregated solutions actually work.

According to a new insights report from Appledore Research, systems integration of Open RAN solutions will offer the largest potential for new revenue. But the competition for who performs those systems integration services will include a wider range of traditional and non-traditional vendors.

Put succinctly by Francis Haysom, a principal analyst for Appledore Research: “Everything will be open but [operators] will still want to buy an integrated solution.”

Panel discussion on open telco

Joe Wojtal, chief technology officer of WWT's Global Service Provider sales organization, recently participated in a panel discussion on a similar topic: Will a more open telco mean a simpler supplier roster? Or will the desire to reduce the number of suppliers handled by the telcos be a stronger factor?

Follow the discussion here:

In any scenario, systems integration is paramount to adopting open technologies. Once hardware and software are pulled apart, someone still needs to piece them back together in a time- and cost-effective manner. 

Bringing new vendors into the fold will help operators boost innovation, reduce costs and increase competition. But it also introduces an enormous amount of complexity to the equation.

Ecosystem clusters and WWT's ATC

Therefore, Haysom, the Appledore analyst, told TelecomTV he believes service providers would benefit from developing “ecosystem clusters” that can prove interoperability and collaboration to help ease integration and procurement challenges while still providing the operational benefits of open, disaggregated systems. 

WWT is uniquely positioned to foster the growth of such clusters given its investment in the Advanced Technology Center (ATC), a virtual lab environment featuring more than $500 million in infrastructure that houses hundreds of OEMs and technology solutions under one roof.

Further, operators need to consider how they want to spend their time and resources. Service providers need to spend more time focusing on the services that touch their customers and less time on the infrastructure that doesn’t.

For service providers to be successful in an open world where they work with a variety of vendors — traditional, incumbent or startup — to build layered infrastructure stacks, integration will be paramount. This is true whether it’s happening internally or externally with a partner such as WWT.