Nokia and AT&T announced the successful trial of innovative near real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) xApps with the native E2 interface. Nokia is the first major RAN vendor to natively support the Open RAN compliant near real-time RIC and the E2 interface for running xApps. This trial helped validate the promise of the near real-time RIC and xApp approach for advanced 5G use cases.
The trial was implemented on Nokia’s commercial near real-time RIC platform, running on Nokia AirScale base stations on AT&T’s network. In this trial, near real-time xApps utilized E2SM Policy Services to dynamically perform targeted RAN optimization. The benefit of near real-time RIC is that it can optimize services for specific user groups, different frequency layers, or based on Quality of Service (QoS) Class Identifiers in 5G networks. Nokia’s near real-time RIC platform and xApps also bring capabilities to utilize existing interfaces to enable RAN optimization use cases that suit the operator networks.
With an increasing volume of mobile connections, operators need to find innovative and cost-efficient ways for optimizing radio network performance. Near real-time RIC enables 5G use cases implemented with xApps, which leverage AI/ML-based optimization algorithms to dynamically improve RAN performance. Examples of Nokia’s applications include Advanced Traffic Steering xApp for distributing mobile traffic across different frequency layers, which frees more bandwidth for mobile users, and Anomaly Detection xApp, which uses machine learning to quickly detect and classify irregular behavior patterns in the RAN.
Robert Soni, VP – RAN Technology at AT&T said: “AT&T is excited about the potential benefits offered by the O-RAN E2 interface. We are pleased to see the maturing of the Nokia Service Enablement Platform in consecutive trials over the last few years. The results of the trial demonstrated that E2 interface allows RAN policies to be updated several orders of magnitude faster than through legacy OAM interfaces, and thus unlocking new methods for RAN optimization.”
Mark Atkinson, Head of Radio Access Networks at Nokia, commented: “Our Open RAN compliant near real-time RAN Intelligent Controller adds a new intelligence layer to the radio network. Together with AT&T, we have demonstrated that near real-time RIC has the potential to become a key enabler for RAN programmability. We believe in embracing openness and collaboration to drive innovation across the telecom industry and to harness the true power of 5G.”