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Mavenir, VIAVI enter into collaboration to validate 5G RAN options for US market

Partnership will focus on lab testing of cloud-native radio access systems for major US mobile network operators

Noting that 5G has clocked up 229 million subscribers as of December 2020, VIAVI has joined forces with Mavenir to help optimise its advanced radio access systems with lab validation of radio access technology for US mobile network operators (MNOs).

VIAVI, a global provider of network test, monitoring and assurance solutions for communications service providers, said the MNOs were granted licences to establish greenfield networks specifically to take advantage of this demand.

And given that established network equipment manufacturers were restricted from supplying infrastructure in markets around the globe – driven by western governments’ removal of technology from Chinese suppliers such as Huawei from their countries’ network infrastructures – there has been a subsequent trend towards an expansion of the supply chain for mobile network systems.

One key element of this trend has been the repaid development over the last 12 months of alternatives to the standard comms technology, especially within the realm of software-defined (SD) radio access network (RAN) to plug the gap.

As the ramifications of political decisions taken in 2020 to exclude high-risk suppliers from national mobile infrastructures play out, diversity in essential tech supply is very much on the agenda for all operators. It is also one of the key drivers for an expanding open radio access network (O-RAN) market, which, said analyst ABI Research in late 2020, is expected to exceed the traditional RAN market for the first time around 2027-2028.

VIAVI said that as suppliers across the industry develop open, cloud-native and disaggregated architectures, testing against user expectations of service quality will be critical to accelerate adoption at scale. The company said its work with Mavenir would validate a new SD, cloud-native RAN infrastructure.

It predicted that the resulting technology would see use with almost every base station manufacturer and provide scalable test systems for use experience. This would be similar to how its test platform is already being used to provide scalable test systems for validating network performance as experienced by end-users, across multiple cells and different radio access technologies.

“As vendors across the industry develop open, cloud-native and disaggregated architectures, testing against user expectations of service quality will be critical to accelerate adoption at scale,” said Luiz Cesar Oliveira, vice-president, Americas at VIAVI. “We are excited to help Mavenir optimise its advanced radio access solutions based on our unique experience supporting over 200 service providers and virtually every network equipment manufacturer worldwide.”

Ramnik Kamo, EVP quality, systems and people at Mavenir, added: “Mavenir is proud to be a leading vendor to mobile operators around the globe, offering software-defined infrastructure that can adapt to evolving requirements for both brownfield and greenfield networks, large-scale to startup networks. VIAVI has been a highly collaborative partner, with our two companies’ engineering teams working together to prove a new technology against very tight customer timescales.”

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