Published on 10 November 2021

Orange inaugurates the first laboratory in France dedicated to Open RAN technology

Orange inaugurates this Wednesday, November 10th its Open RAN Integration Center, dedicated to Open RAN technology (Open Radio Access Networks), a reference technology for future mobile networks.
This testing and integration space, which will enable companies from the Open RAN ecosystem to test and validate their products and services, and thus accelerate the development of this technology, is the first of its kind to open in France.

Traditional Radio Access Networks (RANs) consist of hardware and software integrated by a single provider, with software and hardware interfaces operating in a closed proprietary system. The so-called Open RAN technology makes it possible to open these networks to different suppliers and equipment manufacturers, thereby helping to improve the management and maintenance of these networks, reducing the costs of deployment and operation, making them more flexible in case of evolution, and adjusting them to the needs of end customers. It is also based on generic servers and natively integrates artificial intelligence into its operating principles.
This technology is currently being specified and developed.

Convinced that Open RAN will be a pillar technology for future mobile networks, Orange invest in its development and plans to deploy in the coming years.

The Orange Open RAN Integration Center inaugurated on Wednesday 10th November, is located at Orange Gardens in Châtillon, near Paris. It will be accessible to equipment suppliers of the Open RAN ecosystem, start-ups and system integrators, wishing to test the operation and interoperability of their components with those of other suppliers. The Open RAN Integration Center network will also be remotely accessible.

The objective of the Open RAN Integration Center is to allow, in the long term, the deployment of networks capable of working with hardware and software from different suppliers.
 
This laboratory - the first to be dedicated to Open RAN technology in France and the 4th in Europe – was awarded the OTIC (Open Testing and Integration Center) label by the O-RAN Alliance, of which Orange is a founding member.

Several partners, that are Open RAN hardware or software developers, will test their products in this new testing center, including:

  • Amphenol : antenna provider
  • AW2S / SERMA : radio product supplier
  • Benetel : radio product supplier
  • Cellwize : RAN-SMO and Non RT RIC Platform
  • DELL : open infrastructure provider
  • Intel : supplier of platform, processor, and acceleration technologies
  • Keysight : supplier of advanced test and validation solutions
  • Nokia : RAN supplier
  • Samsung : RAN supplier
  • VIAVI : supplier of testing and measuring equipment  

The interoperability and integration of the various Open RAN hardware and software elements is a key element for the emergence of a rich and varied ecosystem. For several years, Orange has been working alongside many operators and vendors to create the open networks of tomorrow, such as Open RAN networks, that are based on virtualization and automation. After a first stage focused on technical specifications, Orange is now contributing to the second stage – the development of interoperable, multi-vendor Open RAN technical solutions.

“ With the creation of an Open RAN Integration Center, open to our partners worldwide, we want to accelerate the development of an open, intelligent, cloud-based RAN and create a rich Open RAN ecosystem in Europe. From 2025 onwards, our ambition is to deploy only Open RAN equipment across Europe " said Michaël Trabbia, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Orange.

 

Ariane CHAN
10/11/2021 12:00 CET