Mavenir has culled together a group of virtual RAN companies to form what it’s calling the Open RAN Partner Ecosystem. Mavenir’s group sounds very similar to Cisco’s Open vRAN Alliance, which Cisco announced last month. At the time, Cisco said that it had developed a pre-certified pre-integrated open vRAN system that is ready to deploy.
The other companies in Mavenir’s partner ecosystem include MTI, Baicell, NEC, Fujitsu, Sercomm, AceAxis, KMW, Benetel, CommScope, Blue Danube Systems, and Airrays.
According to John Baker, senior vice president at Mavenir, the company will act as a systems integrator and work with operators to provide an end-to-end open vRAN solution. “The majority of the ecosystem exists,” Baker said, adding that by bringing together all these different companies it can offer a solution that competes with traditional, hardware-centric RAN vendors like Nokia, Ericsson, or Huawei. “OEMs today use system integrators, but this is about testing end-to-end.”
The advantage, according to Daryl Schoolar, practice leader for service provider infrastructure and software at Ovum, is that Mavenir will handle the interoperability testing and the multi-vendor integration. Those tasks can be difficult, particularly for smaller operators.
Mavenir said that it has conducted interoperability testing on the xRAN Option 7.2 split specification, that was officially released by the ORAN Alliance. That specification included the management plane, which Mavenir said it contributed too. Cisco also said that it contributed to this part of the ORAN Alliance specification.
Mavenir vs. Cisco?
Although Mavenir’s ecosystem partner group sounds very similar to what Cisco has created, Baker said that it’s not the same because operators don’t need to go through Mavenir to set up the arrangement with the various partner vendors. “What we are doing is saying ‘here’s a group of companies. If operators want to talk to each company they can do so,’” he said, adding that Cisco’s group is being driven by Cisco.
The companies involved in Cisco’s group include Tech Mahindra, Altiostar, Intel, Red Hat, and Qwilt.
Schoolar said that the fact that there are two groups could benefit the ecosystem because it will bring more awareness to vRAN. However, he added that it may end up that the two groups merge because they have similar goals.