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Vodafone and Nokia take Open RAN to new heights in Italy

30 Apr 2024Technology news
2 minute read

Vodafone and Nokia today announced the successful completion of a three-month Open RAN trial across a live 5G standalone (5G SA) test network in the towns of Arcisate and Sernio on the fringes of The Alps in Northern Italy.

Open RAN masts at these sites were connected back to Vodafone’s main test centre in Milan over Vodafone’s high speed, high capacity 5G SA network, which also uses Nokia technology.

Gigabit download speeds

As part of the trial, Vodafone and Nokia achieved functional and performance results comparable with standard 5G RAN, including clocking mobile data download speeds of up to 1.1 Gbit/s and 160 Mbps uplink. Engineers from Vodafone and Nokia also achieved encouraging results in other areas, including latency (response times).

Sitting at the heart of the trial were Nokia’s AirScale Massive MIMO radios (a technology suited to connecting many users in busy urban areas) and the first deployment of Nokia’s RAN software running on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware servers from Dell using Red Hat’s cloud infrastructure. The trial also included Nokia’s intelligent MantaRay Networks Management system to provide Vodafone with a consolidated network view to ensure improved monitoring and management of traffic. This is a vital component in all commercial networks handling customer traffic.

Diverse Ecosystem

Santiago Tenorio, Vodafone Director of Network Architecture at Vodafone, said: “Vodafone is dedicated to supporting the development and adoption of Open RAN worldwide by fostering a diverse ecosystem of partners and solutions. This approach offers numerous benefits, including increased choice, enhanced energy efficiency, higher network capacity, and improved performance for customers.”

The trial also highlighted the maturity of Nokia’s anyRAN approach designed to give mobile operators and enterprises more flexibility when building multi-vendor automated networks. The ability to mix and match different vendor software and hardware is the foundation of Open RAN and is critical to boosting innovation and supply-chain resilience.

More Choice

Mark Atkinson, Head of RAN at Nokia, added: “Nokia’s collaborative anyRAN approach means that telecommunications providers can deploy Open RAN with the server hardware and CaaS layer of their choice. Together with our ecosystem partners, we are committed to providing our customers with more choice and a higher performance in Open RAN solutions than they will see from other RAN suppliers.

In addition, Nokia is supporting Open Fronthaul features on top of its high-performance RAN software which ensures mobile operators have performance consistency with their existing RAN.

This trial is another step in Vodafone’s strategy to widely deploy Open RAN across Europe, with the aim of having 30% of its masts based on the technology by 2030. It builds on Vodafone’s deployment of Open RAN sites in the UK and Romania. By partnering with key strategic vendors like Nokia, Vodafone is pioneering the wider adoption of open, disaggregated and automated networks, providing greater agility to quickly adopt and launch innovative new customer-focused services.

  • Technology
  • 5G
  • Connectivity
  • Digital Society
  • EU
  • Europe
  • Infrastructure
  • Innovation
  • Mobile
  • Networks
  • OpenRAN
  • Rural connectivity

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