Tech Intelligence Bulletin (HG Insights) – AT&T and Nokia have completed a successful limited live trial of the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) over AT&T’s commercial 5G mmWave (millimeter wave) 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.

Co-development of RIC software platform

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.

Zero interruption

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.

“openness and collaboration”

“This successful trial is a testament to what we can achieve 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 Mazin Gilbert, VP of Technology and Innovation, AT&T.

“We are 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,” commented Michael Clever, Head of Edge Cloud Platforms, Nokia.

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