Spotlight on Tech

The Key Challenges to Adopting New Mobile Network Technology

November 4, 2022
minute read

At Rakuten Symphony, we know cloud and Open RAN deliver on their performance and cost promises because we built a network using these technologies that delivers category leading mobile services today. But we also understand that using cloud telecom and Open RAN is new, different and still a work in progress.

Because we believe in transparency, we asked Rabih Dabboussi, Rakuten Symphony Chief Business Officer, to film a series of videos about some of the key questions surrounding today’s cloud networks, Open RAN architectures and about the security status of these technologies.

MNOs need to embrace technology change

In the first video on telco challenges, Dabboussi starts by acknowledging how hard it is to adopt a new technology after decades of investment in legacy technology. Mobile operators already have jobs and are busy designing, deploying, maintaining and operating their existing networks.

But they know this is the technology of the future and will impact the RAN, the cloud and operations.

In the RAN, the Open RAN disaggregation of DU, CU and RU is done and with relative maturity. But there is a need for support of more bands in the radio unit (RU) arena and a bigger ecosystem to provide more radio innovation.

Cloud offers a lot of promise for telecom networks, but there has not been any mass scale adoption of cloud technology for network elements and network functions. There are several challenges to doing that including a lack of skill sets and selecting the right cloud stack; one that offers specific performance and features optimized for a telecom network. Not all cloud providers do.

Automation of the network

Last but not least, is automating network operations. The biggest challenge here is converting the element and network management systems. These systems are completely fragmented, having been built over decades as new systems have come online. The only real integration comes at a dashboard which gives you a visibility into the systems, but no way to operate the systems. Replacing this operational environment is a long journey. The process starts with finding a modular operations and management platform and then picking a place in the network to start with.

Be sure to check out the full video here!

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Future of Telecom
Network Automation
Open RAN
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