As 5G network infrastructure deployment rolls on, the push for open radio access network (RAN) standards is steadily growing, with support from network providers and developers alike. One of its major champions, cloud technology company VMware, is issuing several updates to its RAN portfolio of products and launching the VMware RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC). VMware RIC, along with VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN, will help service providers smoothly transition to Open RAN, according to the company. Radio access networks connect devices like cell phones and laptops to base stations as well as core carrier networks; Open RAN could promote innovation and interoperability while reducing operational expenses across the spectrum.
The VMware RIC is a cloud-native platform that abstracts the underlying RAN infrastructure and provides developer APIs for xApps and rApps to program the RAN. The platform will feature side-by-side centralized and distributed RICs that operate independently of each other to manage and host near-real-time and non-real-time control functions. The company expects its new RIC platform to provide flexibility for service providers to transform their RANs into intelligent Open RANs with minimal disruption, increasing agility and enhancing security at the same time. Intel is working with VMware as a strategic partner for the platform, which is based on the Intel FlexRAN reference architecture.