Could Software and Hardware Combo Eclipse WiFi Networks?

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One of Britain’s mobile networks, O2, just said it intends to deploy Open Radio Access Network technology (O-RAN), reports NETWORK WORLD. This technology alternative is “a general-purpose, vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology.” 

 In conjunction with Intel and Vodafone, Telecom Infra Project conceived of O-RAN to compete with Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia, which provide almost all mobile telco infrastructure now.

The intent is that by encouraging less powerful, smaller vendors to provide infrastructure, the big three would have to reduce prices to remain competitive.

O-RAN could allow for the standardization of telecommunications infrastructure, potentially making future private mobile networks more cost-effective and easier to implement. According to an SNS Telecom & IT report published in October 2019, private LTE and 5G networks are expected to generate $4.7 billion in revenue by the end of this year, rising to $8 billion by the end of 2023.

 In conjunction with O-RAN, NETWORK WORLD predicts that “white-box” hardware equipment could be the wave of the future. Conceivably, as telco equipment prices and availability became more reasonable and new, unlicensed, shared spectrum becomes available, implementation might be a reality. An enterprise-level, private LTE or 5G network, with “white-box” hardware and programmable software-defined networks, may become as simple as installing a WiFi network. 5G and IoT will likely drive these investments according to SNS Telecom & IT.

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