February 3, 2021 By IBM Blog 2 min read

“With Virtual RAN (vRAN), network functions are virtualized, breaking down silos and minimizing CAPEX and OPEX.” — Anil Bhandari, Vice President of Product Management, Altiostar

For Communications Service Providers (CSPs), there’s a lot of momentum around virtual and open radio access networks (vRAN/Open RAN), but it’s important to first understand the concept. Traditional RAN architectures are proprietary and closed solutions, and this hinders the innovation necessary to rapidly offer new mobile services or scale them as user demands change over time and location.

With open and virtualized RAN, proprietary and expensive hardware are replaced, and you disaggregate the RAN architecture, now providing open interfaces and an ecosystem in which many vendors and solution providers can innovate. 

Virtual radio access networks (vRAN) apply the principles of network function virtualization (NFV), whereby the RAN network functions are now virtualized and deployed on cloud platforms. It brings the benefits of cloud and the ability to take a platform-centric approach by deploying RAN network functions on an agile, scalable and hybrid platform. This breaks down silos and minimizes CAPEX and OPEX.

Another important benefit of a vRAN is that network functions can be flexibly deployed as needed, more dynamically. This is key — especially in the context of 5G — to support higher cell and device density and a wide variety of use cases not limited to physical network functions.

In the above video featuring Altiostar and IBM, you’ll gain additional insights and find answers to these questions

  • Why is vRAN important to 5G and network transformation?
  • How do you address integration, performance and scalability?
  • What role do AI and automation play in relation to vRAN?

Ready to learn more?

IBM and its partner ecosystem provide the industry-specific solutions and functions that are necessary to tailor a 5G solution for CSPs:

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