The firm is positioning itself as a neutral vendor with expertise in open systems that can help wireless network operators negotiate the simultaneous transitions to SDN, NFV, and 5G technology. That positioning includes a newly announced evolution of its CellEngine product line to support the transition from 4G to 5G networking.
If Radisys were a cat, it might be on its fourth or fifth life. Founded in 1987 with a focus on embedded systems, the company evolved from one strategy to another. This included a period as a supplier of telecom equipment based on the Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA).
Earlier this year, president Brian Bronson signaled a shift away from hardware solutions toward SDN and NFV, a direction confirmed in a blog post entitled “A Software-Centric Radisys.”
The company could benefit from quickly making this transition. Its stock has lost more than half of its value over the past two months, dropping from around $3.80 per share to around $1.60 per share. The big hit to share value began in August when the company revealed order delays from two big customers, Verizon and Reliance Jio.
As the wireless industry moved through successive generations of network technology, carriers typically needed to rely on a system integrator that was also typically one of the biggest vendors. The development of SDN and NFV not only gives operators greater network flexibility, it also allows them to get out of being locked in to a single vendor – which might be one of the best opportunities for Radisys.
“We’re not a Nokia and Ericsson. It’s very hard for those companies to really be open because they benefit by having their stuff work with their stuff, even if they do have open interfaces,” said Radisys CTO Andrew Alleman. “We’re the opposite; the more open things are, the better chance we have to succeed. We’ve been doing open platforms for a long time, back to ATCA and now with Open Compute.”
Alleman said that’s how Radisys should be able to compete against some of the larger vendors out there.
With its experience in open systems and with a customer base that includes Tier-1 network operators (Verizon remains a customer and Radisys is working with the company on aspects of its 4G-to-5G transition), Radisys has developed the expertise to help with planning a network transition and to solve 5G deployment challenges, Alleman explained. That includes experience with DevOps, the complex process of managing both the development and deployment of products and services as a continuum.
As an example of the company’s expertise with open systems at work, Radisys will be at the upcoming MWC Americas event to showcase what it says is an industry-first multi-access central office re-architected as a datacenter (CORD) demonstration, which it will conduct with an as-yet unidentified Tier-1 service provider.
With the announcement of its corporate strategy, Radisys has evolved its CellEngine product line into its new MobilityEngine product. CellEngine focuses on small cell deployments. MobilityEngine is an open 5G radio access network (RAN) platform (plus associated professional services) based on the 5G Technical Forum specification. It includes a roadmap to support 5G New Radio (NR) Non Standalone (NSA) mode as well as 5G NR Standalone (SA) Mode.
These products can be the basis for small cell deployments, the implementation of multi-access edge computing (MEC) architecture, a CORD architecture, or a phased 5G rollout.
There are changes in the company’s DCEngine hardware as well. Based on the Open Compute Project (OCP)-Accepted CG-OpenRack-19 specification, it supports service providers as they upgrade central offices to look more like small data centers, swapping out proprietary hardware in favor of open systems. The company claims the platform, combined with operations and support, can bring an annual OpEx saving of nearly 40 percent compared to traditional data center offerings.