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  • AT&T and Nokia are co-creating the Radio Access Network (RAN) Intelligent Controller (RIC) based on O-RAN architecture and publishing in open source
  • The limited live trial was performed over AT&T’s commercial 5G mmWave network in New York City
  • In the trial, the RIC ran at the network edge on an Akraino-based Open Cloud Platform

Bengaluru, NFAPost: Nokia and AT&T announced a successful limited live trial of the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) over AT&T’s commercial 5G mmWave network in New York City. Once fully implemented into the network, the RIC platform will enable increased network optimization capabilities through policy-guided, closed loop automation. 

Last year, AT&T and Nokia announced their collaboration to co-develop the RIC software platform, in alignment with the O-RAN Alliance target architecture, to accelerate the creation of open source software for the 5G RAN. The intent is to create open interfaces and an open ecosystem of interoperable components that will enable rapid, flexible service deployments and programmability within the RAN. The RIC software is available at the O-RAN Software Community.

For the recent trial, AT&T and Nokia ran a series of external applications, called “xApps,” at the edge of AT&T’s live 5G mmWave network on an Akraino-based Open Cloud Platform. The xApps used in the trial were designed to improve spectrum efficiency, as well as offer geographical and use case-based customization and rapid feature onboarding.

Ultimately, the trial achieved its test goals. Both companies tested the RAN E2 interface and xApp management and control, collected live network data using the Measurement Campaign xApp, the neighbor relation management using Automated Neighbor Relation (ANR) xApp, and tested RAN control via the Admission Control xApp – all with zero interruption to the live commercial network.

AT&T VP of Technology and Innovation Mazin Gilbert said the successful trial is a testament to what can be achieved through openness and collaboration.

“Together with the O-RAN Alliance, AT&T and Nokia will continue to develop and contribute to the E2 interface and the RIC platform to help enable an intelligent and flexible 5G network,” said AT&T VP of Technology and Innovation Mazin Gilbert.

Nokia Head of Edge Cloud Platforms Michael Clever said Nokia is excited about the success achieved by the joint AT&T and Nokia team in proving out the RIC over AT&T’s 5G network in such a great city.

“This represents a major milestone toward the advancement of RAN network intelligence, openness and programmability, with the ultimate goal of improving wireless networks efficiency and end user experience,” said Nokia Head of Edge Cloud Platforms Michael Clever

Last year, AT&T and Nokia announced their collaboration to jointly create the software platform for the RIC and the E2 interface defined by ORAN and contribute the results to the Linux Foundation Open Source Community.

An open and programmable RAN enables many new capabilities for the use of 4G and 5G networks – customization, the management of slices, improved services, and novel optimization algorithms enabled by artificial intelligence. Overall, it allows a CSP’s business to grow through an open ecosystem and faster time-to-market.

The O-RAN Alliance has defined the RIC as a new network element. It allows external applications to control aspects of the 4G and 5G radio network much faster than is currently possible through installed control applications. These external apps, called xApps, provide a multitude of benefits. One example is smarter traffic steering across different layers and Radio Access Technologies, driven by machine learning, improving spectral efficiency and network capacity. Meanwhile, localized and use case-based customization and rapid onboarding of features will help to offer a far superior customer experience.

AT&T helps family, friends and neighbors connect in meaningful ways every day. From the first phone call 140+ years ago to mobile video streaming, we innovate to improve lives. And according to America’s biggest test, AT&T has the nation’s best wireless network. The company is building FirstNet just for first responders and creating next-generation mobile 5G. With a range of TV and video products, AT&T delivers entertainment people love to talk about. The company’s smart, highly secure solutions serve nearly 3 million global businesses – nearly all of the Fortune 1000. And worldwide, our spirit of service drives employees to give back to their communities.

Nokia creates technology to connect the world. Only Nokia offers a comprehensive portfolio of network equipment, software, services and licensing opportunities across the globe. With our commitment to innovation, driven by the award-winning Nokia Bell Labs, we are a leader in the development and deployment of 5G networks.

The company is communications service provider customers support more than 6.4 billion subscriptions with our radio networks, and enterprise customers have deployed over 1,300 industrial networks worldwide. Adhering to the highest ethical standards, Nokia transform how people live, work and communicate.

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