Open RAN network demonstrates performance, scalability

March 30, 2021 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Open RAN network demonstrates performance, scalability
Rakuten Mobile 4G and 5G Open RAN deployments have shown impressive achievements covering virtualization, automation and performance.

Altiostar and Rakuten Mobile have achieved a number of performance and scalability achievements for the Rakuten Mobile 4G and 5G Open RAN deployments, specifically around virtualization, automation and performance.

Rakuten Mobile built and launched its 4G network in record time in April 2020. As of March 2021, the network signed up 3 million applicants. By January 2021, the network had over 11,000 base stations covering 74.9% of the population, on track to meet the goal of 96% coverage by Summer 2021.

The network has achieved both high performance (number one in upload speed in market at 16.8Mbps, per OpenSignal), despite having only 1/6th of the spectrum holdings of competing operators in market.

In September 2020, only five months after the initial launch, Rakuten Mobile was the first operator to launch a commercial-scale, cloud-native 5G network, leveraging Altiostar's open virtualized radio access network (Open vRAN). Because baseband functions are deployed as Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), it has been possible for Rakuten Mobile to automate various operational tasks such as new cell site integration (auto-commissioning), as well as fault detection and automated recovery from failures (self-healing), further minimizing its Opex. As an example, due to the automation of its network, Rakuten Mobile has stated it can provision a new 5G cell site in just four minutes and a 4G site in eight minutes.

The 5G network, leveraging advanced massive MIMO and millimeter wave (mmWave) radios, covers both sub-6 GHz and mmWave bands. Altiostar worked closely with Qualcomm Technologies, Airspan, and Rakuten Mobile on innovation in mmWave radios based on Qualcomm® 5G RAN platforms, with the disaggregation of hardware and software designed to deliver a much better quality of experience, allowing the network to dynamically reallocate resources on the fly. Altiostar collaborated with NEC and Rakuten Mobile to introduce to the 5G network O-RAN compliant sub-6 GHz massive MIMO radios.

The 5G network has demonstrated impressive performance for end users, with throughput of 1.77 Gbps.

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