As per recent developments, surely you will be well aware that Huawei has stepped successfully into 5G Technology development. This has pushed U.S. to look forward for a way to replace Huawei’s presence in 5G networks. Some news has been revolving regarding the U.S. buying and controlling interest in Huawei competitors especially Nokia and Ericsson or giving both of these competitors some tax breaks so that at least one of them would build a U.S. facility. Using this facility competitors of Huawei could research as well as develop the 5G Network. However, Huawei due to its overwhelming market and best tech research is believed to be a superior competitor as well as half years ahead of its rivals technology-wise. Moreover, due to its connection with the Bank of China, the Chinese manufacturer Huawei is too generous in its financing plans.
OpenRAN the Best Alternative to HUAWEI
Initially it was decided by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to give any attention to U.S. warnings and therefore asked Huawei for delivering of 5G networks to some parts of the Britain. However, at the same time the PM was thinking what else could be done? Thus recently Boris Johnson has second thoughts regarding presence of Huawei and therefore Britain too is once again seeking for some alternate to replace Huawei.
The whole world is now moving towards Software Defined Radios (SDR) as said tech has helped a lot in saving millions of dollars that would have been spent on constantly changing Hardware. Because in SDR you just have to change your software or code and you can test your designed module in the extensive limits of SDR. According to the Washington Post, the U.S. is now testing a technology called OpenRAN which stands for Open Radio Access Network. This tech is a sort of versatile one that will allow software designed by U.S. to help connect different networking hardware made by various companies. Due to this, carriers inside US will be able to pick any of the different suppliers whose gear/ equipment will be used in their networks. In short the cost will be relatively much cheaper than if they purchase a complete gear package offered by Huawei, Nokia or Ericsson.
As with fast tech developments when the world is replacing the conventional HDDs with Network Storages and SSDs, digital cameras with DSLRs and old style heavier PCs with touch screen laptops, the war in 5G is impossible to avoid. The Pentagon already calling this technology “The Future” is doing their best to get companies to fully develop it by letting them apply for part of the Defense Department’s huge 200 million USD 5G budget. This has been verified through an email received from spokesman for said program Lt. Col Robert Carver.
A statement has been widely circulating that several big tech companies are testing OpenRAN in their network including AT&T. Same has been verified by AT&T’s Chief Tech Officer Andre Fuetsch who is also the chairman of an industry group examining OpenRAN. OpenRAN testing has been started not only in US but in Britain as well. This year Britain’s O2 will implement an OpenRAN network in Southeast London. Whereas, for European Networks another British carrier, Vodafone, is said to be considering using the technology. Chief technology officer of O2 Brendan O’Reilly issued a statement that as an industry, relying too much on Huawei, Nokia, and Ericsson or any other such vendors for 5G networking equipment is not good for telecom companies. He further said that the future of UK is definitely in OpenRAN.
As mentioned earlier SDR is the new future in Telecom. Same tech is being implemented in OpenRAN as well. OpenRAN use radio waves to move/ transport the main packets of a 5G network that allow voice and data for communication with mobile devices. Instead of constant changes in networking hardware, everything in OpenRAN is made possible with the software that handles such matters. By having the software responsible for each process, the hardware part is just a Raw Material that does not need to be supplied from Huawei or any of the other rivals.
This appears to be the main intended design of US that they have been discussing for quite a while. Back in Feb 20 The White House Adviser Laurence Kudlow, while discussing plans for developing of an Engineering standard Hardware where any 5G software developer could run and test their code with complete freedom irrespective of any hardware manufacturer. Micahell Dell has already said that Software is eating the hardware in 5G. As an example, one small carrier named Island Cellular with the help of OpenRAN, was able to reduce the cost of each cell site by 40% to $20,000.
But even with all this hype by US and Britain, not everyone is equally fascinated with OpenRAN. This includes some of the industry executives saying that these are still early days for such technology. In addition, many tech firms have already started to build their networks using traditional technology. The three main networking gear providers Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei also have different opinions about OpenRAN. Nokia says that more research is certainly required on the technology to make sure it meets the “reliability, security and performance” needs of the telecom companies. Whereas Ericsson Chief Executive Borje Ekholm called OpenRAN “an area where Ericsson is surely going to participate in”. Similarly, Huawei said that it welcomes this innovation but isn’t sure “whether these technologies(OpenRAN) will meet carriers’ needs.”
As these days everyone is well aware that Huawei is being considered as a national security threat in the U.S. because of its recognized ties to the communist Chinese government. However, some lawmakers also sense an urgency here. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), a co-founder of one of the telecom companies, said in a statement that every month the U.S. does nothing, Huawei stands ready to become the cheapest, fastest, most omnipresent global provider of 5G. US need to move beyond just observing the problems to providing alternatives for U.S. and foreign network operators.