Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced HPE RAN Automation, a service management and orchestration solution that provides multi-vendor management and automation for any Radio Access Network (RAN) and helps communications service providers increase operational efficiency and accelerate deployment.
This pre-integrated cloud-native solution, delivered as a service, leverages HPE operations support systems and artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) technologies to offer zero-touch management of multi-vendor RAN infrastructure.
The solution orchestrates the full life-cycle of both virtual Distributed Units (vDUs) and virtual Centralized Units (vCUs), enabling operators to dynamically configure radio frequency parameters and optimize the use of radio access resources and spectrum.
“While the direction towards the open disaggregated RAN is clear, many operators will have to manage a mixture of existing 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, virtualized RAN and Open RAN solutions over the next few years,” said Tom Craig, VP and GM, HPE Communications Technology Group. “The winners will be those who embrace automation and commit to a disaggregated, open, multi-vendor future. Building on our experience gained from one of the largest RAN disaggregation deployments in the industry, HPE RAN Automation provides a pre-integrated, truly open, fully vendor agnostic solution that addresses existing, pure Open RAN and traditional networks. With this latest innovation, we are introducing a zero-touch operational experience to manage the ever-growing complexity, accelerate roll out and optimize multi-vendor radio access networks.”
Interest in Open RAN is growing rapidly with the majority of operators either piloting or planning to make significant investments in disaggregated radio access technology over the coming years. Operators are looking to the industry to bring scale and innovation through workload-optimized x86 based hardware, specifically tuned to run virtualized radio access software. In addition, AI-driven management and automation tools will be essential to simplify RAN operations and engineering for the multi-vendor, multi-generational disaggregated RAN.
HPE RAN Automation is delivered as a service on a public or private cloud as a pre-integrated set of capabilities and operated centrally by HPE offering the following:
· Fully-automated lifecycle management with AI/ML powered assurance –detects anomalies, predict failures, correlate information across the hardware and software layers, perform advanced analytics and send actionable signals to the appropriate components to take action according to the specific use cases.
· A single secure web user interface –allows operators to interact with the different functions of the platform with single sign-on authentication.
· A consistent set of management capabilities across heterogeneous hosting environments, compliant with ETSI specifications –supports operators by providing the ability to onboard and deploy third party RAN vDU and vCU network functions.
HPE RAN Automation follows the principles of O-RAN Alliance’s Service Management and Orchestration (SMO) architecture which provides the capability to provision, monitor and operate all layers of the disaggregated RAN from infrastructure to RAN software. Furthermore, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) practices ensure that HPE RAN Automation is constantly updated according to the latest O-RAN standards and integrates seamlessly with the latest software updates from RAN partners.
The first step operators usually face is the rollout of RAN optimized hardware across thousands of distributed sites. HPE RAN Automation addresses this challenge and supports operators with a step-by-step approach as they move towards Open RAN, by utilising the HPE Resource Aggregator for Open Distributed Infrastructure Management, a DMTF Redfish based open-source framework to manage diverse edge infrastructure.
Once the infrastructure and the network functions are in place, HPE RAN Automation supports further advanced AI capabilities and standardized interfaces to offer O-RAN compliant non-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) functionality and host a suite of radio network applications (rApps) from HPE and partners. Initial deployments of HPE RAN Automation will include a radio frequency (RF) configuration and optimization module. This capability is integrated with the AI/ML assurance and orchestration modules to automate RF parameters provisioning and operations according to specific services and policies set by the operators.
“5G is expected to yield more complex network engineering and a myriad of vendor network types, driven by multi-technology and multivendor solutions,” says Ahmad Latif Ali, Associate VP at IDC. “While many operators are still refining their own network transformation and road maps, open network architectures will undeniably play a key role in driving RAN evolution. The creation and development of new RAN ecosystems will be critical for operators with management and orchestration through end-to-end automation becoming a key strategic priority for those CSPs looking to effectively operate their heterogenous environments, consisting of 5G and previous generations of mobile networks deployed across multiple clouds and on traditional physical infrastructure.”