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Nokia launches an OpenRAN platform

Finnish kit vendor Nokia has unveiled a new service enablement platform that’s designed to enable innovation across the OpenRAN ecosystem.

The new SEP is apparently “The first commercial solution to deliver radio network programmability, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning innovation across the OpenRAN ecosystem.’ It bundles together Nokia’s RAN Intelligent Controller and edge computing stuff with the aforementioned cyber cleverness to provide a platform that seems designed to be a framework into which other OpenRAN bits and bobs can be inserted.

“Embracing open collaboration is key to the development of 5G use cases and harnessing the true power of the technology,” said Pasi Toivanen, Head of Edge Cloud at Nokia. “Nokia’s Service Enablement Platform adds a new intelligence layer to the RAN and enables the creation of high-value add use cases. This is part of Nokia’s continued commitment to leading an open mobile future with a strong network performance and security. We are committed to making it easier for our CSP customers to actively support the adoption of Open RAN principles and standards.”

Nokia brought in Daryl Schoolar of analyst firm Omdia to summarise the nitty gritty. “The level of activity in the Open RAN space has rapidly evolved over the last twelve months,” said Schoolar. “Nokia’s latest announcement about implementing the O-RAN standardized near real-time RAN Intelligent Controller function together with MEC on its Service Enablement Platform product which supports xApps from multiple sources, including third-party, reinforces Nokia´s firm commitment to O-RAN and Open RAN solutions.”

There’s lots of talk of xApps, which we’re struggling to find a good definition of, so feel free to enlighten us in the comments, dear readers. Nokia RIC xApps, we’re told, are ‘a suite of plugins that give CSPs advanced control of 5G radio network use cases’. On the whole this looks like a fairly strong move in support of OpenRAN, which the big vendors have presumably reconciled themselves to having to accommodate, however inconvenient it may be to their business models.

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