ONF and Deutsche Telekom debut fully disaggregated Open RAN

5G graphic

In collaboration with Deutsche Telekom (DT), Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced the launch of its software-defined radio access network (SD-RAN) field trial.

The 4G and 5G standalone (SA) outdoor trial, live at Deutsche Telekom in Berlin, is the first to incorporate fully disaggregated open RAN solutions powered by ONF's RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC).

“Carriers are investing in open RAN to enable a new breed of modular and customizable 5G solutions to accelerate innovation and enable the mix-and-match of best-of-breed components from multiple vendors. Open RAN gives operators choice and flexibility to customize and optimize their networks,” explained ONF.

DT integrated open RAN components from eight companies in the SD-RAN trial: AirHop, Edgecore, Facebook, Foxconn, Intel, Radisys, Supermicro, and Wiwynn.

In addition to horizontally disaggregated hardware — radio unit, distributed unit, and centralized unit — the live trial comprises vertically disaggregated software components, including a near-real-time RIC and xApps.

The entire trial is operated on ONF's Aether platform, a fully managed multi-cloud platform that enables network slicing with multiple user plane functions (UPFs) running at the edge.

Telecom Infra Project (TIP) supports the trial by offering hardware and facilities through the TIP Community Lab hosted by DT in Berlin. Highstreet Technologies is coordinating the integration and testing of the field trial on site.

“The Berlin SD-RAN Open RAN Trial, is a momentous step towards realizing the vision of fully disaggregated and intelligent RAN, leveraging ONF's leading open source RAN Intelligent Controller software platform,” said Alex Choi, senior vice president of strategy & technology innovation at Deutsche Telekom.

Choi added, “In addition to open fronthaul, this trial includes disaggregated RU/DU/CU units, and also vertically disaggregates the RIC and xApps according to SDN principles. Together, we are demonstrating the power of truly open RAN and ecosystem collaboration to accelerate innovation."