Nokia supply’s O-RAN fronthaul multi-vendor solution to NTT DOCOMO to connect vendors for 5G operation

Nokia today announced that it is ready to supply its O-RAN fronthaul multi-vendor solution to NTT DOCOMO, INC.’s (DOCOMO) 5G network following successful testing. The move will enable the Japanese operator to further select independent combinations of hardware and software to optimize its network in the future. It follows the work of the O-RAN ALLIANCE in creating a common specification enabling interoperability between different vendors. It is the latest milestone demonstrating Nokia’s commitment to O-RAN and open networks.  

During the trial at DOCOMO’s Lab in Yokosuka, Nokia’s 5G O-RAN AirScale baseband was successfully integrated and tested with third-party O-RUs (radio units). Nokia’s O-RAN capabilities are said to be built on top of its AirScale software and provide the same high level of performance, functionality, and security as Nokia’s radio products. Nokia is helping to prepare for the network architecture of the future by building open interfaces on top of its existing solutions, offering CSPs a choice to pursue O-RAN. Nokia has already made significant investments in O-RAN by leading the early deployment of the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) and the open fronthaul.

The O-RAN ALLIANCE was formed in 2018 to define common interfaces between systems to reduce complexity and accelerate the deployment of multi-vendor RANs. It specified an eCPRI-based 7-2x open interface between the Radio Unit (O-RU) and Distributed Unit (O-DU). This is the only standardized fronthaul interface that enables multi-vendor interoperability while optimizing the cost of fronthaul transmission and maximizing radio-frequency performance.  

Sadayuki Abeta, General Manager of Radio Access Network Development Department, NTT DOCOMO, commented: “NTT DOCOMO has been actively driving open RAN standardization and commercialization, being the world’s first operator to deploy multi-vendor O-RAN solutions for the 5G network. Successful testing with Nokia is an important step in further accelerating open RAN commercialization and its global expansion.”

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “This project with NTT DOCOMO is further evidence of our commitment to leading the open mobile future by investing in Open RAN solutions. Open RAN technology will enrich the mobile ecosystem with new solutions and business models and support an expanded multi-vendor ecosystem. We have the scale and capabilities to address the increased customer demand for this technology, underpinned by the world-class network performance and security that only Nokia can deliver.”

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