HomeTIP Launches Radio, Takes on Open Routing, Fields TechTechTIP Launches Radio, Takes on Open Routing, Fields Tech

TIP Launches Radio, Takes on Open Routing, Fields Tech

The Facebook-backed Telecom Infra Project (TIP) this week unveiled the Evenstar remote radio unit (RRU) and launched a new plan to develop disaggregated open routers. The group also announced plans to begin fielding open radio access network (RAN) technology and disaggregated cell site gateways (DCSGs) in markets around the world.

Since it formed four years ago, TIP has worked with dozens of industry partners to launch projects ranging from network access and transport to the network core and services with the ultimate goal of building a completely disaggregated network.

TIP’s Evenstar RRU builds on work from more than a half-dozen vendors and seeks to address the need for a general-purpose RAN reference design for 4G LTE and 5G networks. According to TIP, Evenstar should help to drive the adoption of open RAN.

“By decoupling the RRU hardware, DU and CU software, mobile network operators will have the ability to select best-of-breed components and the flexibility to deploy solutions from an increasing number of technology partners,” wrote TIP Executive Director Attilio Zani, in a blog post.

“We have a working prototype of a radio that is really interesting and promising because it comes at a much lower cost than you’d be able to get from anywhere,” said Yago Tenorio, TIP’s new chair and the head of network strategy at Vodafone, in an interview with SDxCentral.

Alongside the RRU, TIP also launched an initiative under its Open Optics and Packet Transport Group focused on the development of disaggregated open routers. The initiative will be led by KDDI and Vodafone with the help of several equipment vendors including ADVA, Delta, Drivenets, Edgecore, Exaware, and Ufispace.

While Zani didn’t go into specifics, he said that the initiative was the result of “TIP’s capacity to listen to what the requirements are in the marketplace and then start creating project groups that drive solutions that are in demand.”

TIP Takes to the Field

TIP’s rapidly maturing OpenRAN initiative is also gaining steam as more operators tap into the specification to expand internet coverage in rural areas. “I think I can speak for most people in our community when I say we are impatient for more and more commercial deployments,” Zani noted.

Vodafone launched trials using the platform in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is beginning to roll out the technology in the United Kingdom and Ireland; Indosat Ooredoo and Smartfren are slated to begin field tests in Indonesia, and Edotco and Celcom Axiata are working to begin lab trials in Malaysia; and Sprint in the United States has completed request for information (RFI) evaluations necessary to begin lab trials of the OpenRAN 5G New Radio (NR) technology.

“We’re excited and ecstatic about the progress that we’ve made,” said Tenorio, “We started with small-scale trials a couple of years ago … then we moved on to more large scale trials in Mozambique and Congo.”

TIP’s DCSGs are also seeing expanded trials. In the blog post, Zani noted that Telefónica is continuing to advance its deployment plans, while Airtel’s lab tests are nearly complete and the network operator is prepared to begun field trials in the near future.

So far, Tenorio says practically every trial of TIP developed technologies has been a success.

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