One of the most exciting aspects surrounding DISH Wireless is its dedication to innovation and no other step highlights this commitment more than its membership to the O-RAN Alliance. Created in 2018, the O-RAN Alliance’s function is to provide a place for companies across the world to connect and collaborate in the wireless industry. The overall goal of the O-RAN Alliance is to bring wireless solutions to life and into the market at a quicker rate through innovation and teamwork. As Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP of Research and Technology Innovation for Deutsche Telekom stated, “The O-RAN ALLIANCE was created to accelerate the delivery of products that support a common, open architecture and standardized interfaces that we, as operators, view as the foundation of our next-generation wireless infrastructure, while ensuring a broad community of suppliers driven by innovation and open market competition.”
Beyond the acceleration of wireless solutions, the O-RAN Alliance is also setting the standards as to what an O-RAN compliant wireless solution is. There is already a strong environment filled with capable, innovative products, and companies. With the future of radio access networks (RANs) consisting of virtualization, cloud-native, collaborative, and autonomous practices, DISH Wireless and the O-RAN Alliance are a perfect match to advance DISH’s 5G network and wireless capabilities as a whole.
What is the O-RAN Alliance?
The O-RAN Alliance is a collection of members made up of entities large and small throughout the wireless industry. Through collaboration and innovation, these members assist in testing and implementing open network hardware and software to advance wireless technology in a faster, inexpensive manner.
The Core Principles of the O-RAN Alliance
There are two driving principles that the O-RAN Alliance was founded on, openness and intelligence. The open nature of O-RAN provides a path for many different vendors, including some of the smaller vendors in wireless, to create solutions and work together to better wireless technology. Intelligence is necessary because as 5G continues to grow, so do its functions. Autonomy powered by artificial intelligence (AI) is necessary to keep all of the moving parts working as they should. Together, these open, complex, intelligent 5G networks provide the framework for vendors across the entire industry to increase their proficiencies and work as a team.
Understanding the Organizational Structure of the O-RAN Alliance
When the O-RAN Alliance was founded in 2018, it was composed of its founding members AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, and Orange in February before becoming a German organization in August later that year. O-RAN is an international organization and as such pulls leadership and innovation from all parts of the globe. Its management includes the Alliance’s Operating Board which has 15 operators and a Technical Steering Committee (TSC) chaired by both Dr. Sachin Katti, a professor at Stanford University, and the Chief Scientist of Wireless Technologies for China Mobile, Dr. Chih-Lin I.
The diverse nature of the O-RAN Alliance allows growth in different areas within wireless instead of focusing too much on a singular solution. This helps companies create multiple solutions and develop flexibility, a key component of how the O-RAN Alliance operates. The other members of the TSC play an important part in the Alliance’s organization and consist of chairs and co-chairs of the O-RAN Alliance’s many technical workgroups.
The O-RAN Alliance’s Workgroups are Helping DISH Wireless
In total, there are 9 different workgroups within the O-RAN Alliance. Each workgroup consists of both operators and contributors. All in all, the relationship is young but the future is bright. Subscribers will gain more through this membership as DISH Wireless will empower its standalone (SA), cloud-native 5G network with the latest cutting edge technology and practices available in wireless:
- WG1: Use Cases and Overall Architecture Workgroup
- WG2: The Non-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller and A1 Interface Workgroup
- WG3: The Near-real-time RIC and E2 Interface Workgroup
- WG4: The Open Fronthaul Interfaces Workgroup
- WG5: The Open F1/W1/E1/X2/Xn Interface Workgroup
- WG6: The Cloudification and Orchestration Workgroup
- WG7: The White-box Hardware Workgroup
- WG8: Stack Reference Design Workgroup
- WG9: Open X-haul Transport Workgroup
Working closely in an infrastructure that is focused on supporting innovative breakthroughs, DISH Wireless is finding itself in the perfect position to deliver 5G features never before seen at a grander scale than the rest.
The Benefits of Open RAN and Membership
Open RAN is built around benefiting the organizations that use its format. Wireless companies are moving to this method for many of the reasons we have already listed and while consumers may not physically see what comes of these innovations, they certainly will reap the benefits. For DISH Wireless, the O-RAN Alliance enables the company to take major leaps forward by following its principles of openness and intelligence. A major force in television, DISH is still new to providing wireless networks to customers. Even as it continues to test the waters through its acquisition of Boost Mobile, DISH will still have to navigate many obstacles it did not need to face due to Boost already having an established network. Take a look at some of the great benefits DISH Wireless will receive and how they will help consumers in the process:
- Lower costs– Open RAN is shown to lower the Total Cost of Ownership, the CAPEX is reduced by 40%, and the OPEX by 34% within five years according to Strategy Analytics. Lowering the cost of building out its 5G network is only part of the equation. By using an Open RAN approach, maintaining its 5G network becomes much cheaper and realistic for the emerging wireless giant. Through the collaborative atmosphere the O-RAN Alliance is cultivating, this also means that vendors can work together to find solutions faster and cheaper than through other methods.
- Innovation– A benefit that fits the core of what DISH Wireless is aiming for, the O-RAN Alliance’s primary goal is to advance the capabilities of its members and the wireless industry. This positions DISH Wireless in the perfect place to provide groundbreaking technology to its subscribers ranging. Everything is in play, from state-of-the-art fixed wireless solutions from privatized 5G networks that can empower company processes to a faster 5G network that can be upgraded and maintained without interrupting service and everything in-between. DISH Wireless’ 5G network will have more to offer its subscribers in both the commercials and consumer levels.
- Collaboration– Teaming up with industry leaders provides a network to foster ideas and the opportunity to execute them. 5G is not an overnight service. It is a generation of wireless that will continue to unroll before our eyes for several years to come. As new capabilities and breakthroughs come, so too does the advancement of new ideas that aren’t possible with current technology. Furthering functions such as the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), automation, and more are all things 5G will continue to improve upon and implement into our lives to transform how we communicate. By working with others to further these interests, the possibilities for DISH are virtually endless.
- Scalability– Working hand-in-hand with the previously mentioned benefits, by creating a scalable network, DISH Wireless is set to reach more customers, maintain even hard-to-reach markets, and create a 5G experience that allows a variety of vendors and solutions to bring value to the user.
These benefits and more enable the growth we continue to see come from the O-RAN Alliance. The companies involved and 5G as a whole are advancing with DISH Wireless contributing to its momentum.