Network architectures have evolved considerably since the 1980s, yet the basic principle of the radio and core networks has remained largely the same. Traditionally, mobile operators managed a set of network elements and their hardware and software dedicated to their respective functions. Only recently, and largely thanks to the service-based architecture model of the 5G, the virtualization of network functions has become possible. At the same time, the established and new standardization bodies are updating the traditional models to reflect this evolution, so operators finally have additional options to design and deploy modern networks such as virtual and Open RAN models. In Europe, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement Open RAN across Europe, ensuring that a strong ecosystem of companies emerges in the continent; Orange wants all its network upgrades to be Open RAN from 2025 which puts pressure on traditional equipment suppliers to adapt to new open standards. Similar plans are afoot in the USA and Japan.
The Open RAN (open radio-access network), therefore, is already reality. Yet, the ecosystem lacks information sources to understand the concept and its potential. This book would help operators, equipment manufacturers, service providers, regulators, and educational institutes alike to understand and explore the principles and details of the Open RAN.