Juniper Networks, which develops secure, AI-driven networks, and Türk Telekom Group, Turkey’s first and largest integrated telecom operator, have announced completion of a “ground-breaking new technology and commercial partnership” to accelerate innovation in support of the Open RAN (Open Radio Access Network) 5G ecosystem.
We’re told the partnership comprises:
- An exclusive global licensing agreement with Netsia, a subsidiary of Türk Telekom Group company Argela in the USA, to transfer its leading-edge Radio Intelligent Controller (RIC) technology to Juniper, including related source code and patents plus exclusive rights to develop and sell products and solutions that integrate with RIC.
- Permanent transfer of technical domain experts from Netsia to Juniper in support of RIC’s integration into Juniper’s product portfolio, further strengthening Juniper’s Open RAN and 5G expertise.
- Committed purchase of Juniper products and solutions by Türk Telekom to support its next generation Open RAN and 5G deployment. This will include an initial proof-of-concept project expected in late 2021, which will incorporate RIC technology and Juniper’s broader portfolio.
Netsia – billed as an applied research organisation and pioneer in Open RAN and 5G - is “widely regarded as an industry-leading innovator in the RIC landscape, with over 20 patents and patent applications for its technology to date”. The Netsia 4G and 5G RIC is in the advanced stage of development following approximately five years of rigorous research and development, and numerous proof-of-concept trials already successfully completed or underway with major service providers around the world.
RIC technology helps to operationalise Open RAN by providing intelligent, cloud-based control of disaggregated and virtualised radio functions across the access and edge domains. It is also an important component of end-to-end network slicing, enabling ‘tuning’ of various radio access resources to reliably deliver against granular SLAs (Service Level Agreements) for specific use cases.
In addition, RIC says it “unlocks innovation in the radio domain by leveraging both near-real-time and non-real-time user and network data to create and deploy innovative, AI-driven applications and services”. Collectively, the products and solutions resulting from this agreement will enable Türk Telekom and other service providers to deploy open, intelligent 5G radio infrastructure, eventually strengthening the Open RAN and 5G ecosystem.
Coupled with Juniper’s existing domain orchestration portfolio (NorthStar in the transport domain and Contrail in the data centre domain), both companies say “the innovations resulting from this agreement will further extend Juniper’s network slicing capabilities across the radio, transport and telco cloud domains.
“It paves the way for Juniper to ultimately offer a truly cloud-native, scalable platform with end-to-end network slicing and orchestration across next-generation access, IP transport and core networks. This will lay the foundation for service providers to deliver secure, assured service experience for thousands of applications based on a multi-tenant, multi-cloud, multi-domain and any-access infrastructure, opening up new monetisation and innovation opportunities”.
Juniper and Türk Telekom say they are “equally committed to the importance of open and agile architectures, in particular the evolution of vRAN architectures in the Open RAN community”. Juniper and Netsia are both active members of the O-RAN Alliance. The agreement between the two organisations is designed to bring to market open, intelligent and secure RAN solutions that will help democratise radio access in the spirit of the Open RAN philosophy.
Billed as a “one-of-a-kind partnership between a supplier and a customer”, we’re told it is “also a testimony to new ways of collaboration and joint innovation which is required to accelerate the ecosystem towards widespread deployment of cost-effective, open and best-of-breed infrastructure as service providers and enterprises embrace the Cloud, 5G and AI era.”
Ümit Önal, Chief Executive Officer, Türk Telekom said: “We have been working for a long time on cutting-edge RIC technologies that will play an active role in setting global 5G standards. The software developed by Netsia provides high capacity, scalable, flexible, personalised network and service solutions for the mobile communication needs of the future.
"We have achieved a strong synergy with the combination of Netsia's know-how and productisation capacity with Juniper's customer network and geographic reach. As Türk Telekom Group, we are incredibly happy to offer our products, which are the achievements of Turkish engineering, to the world.”
Ray Mota, Principal Analyst, ACG Research said: "As service providers expand on their 5G coverage, they continue to look at ways to run their networks more efficiently with open flexibility, while looking at ways to optimise profitability.
"Deploying OpenRAN is an integral part of a service provider’s open network architectural journey, removing the traditional hardware lock-in and moving to vendor-neutral hardware- and software-defined technology. Juniper’s onboarding of the Radio Intelligent Controller in partnership with Türk Telekom is vital for boosting the Open RAN ecosystem and driving improved service profitability and experience for service providers.”
Rami Rahim, Chief Executive Officer, Juniper Networks said: "Juniper believes that assuring the right service experience is key for monetising the next decade of 5G applications. Development and integration of world-class RIC technology brings this vision another step closer by enabling the combination of end-to-end network slicing and the power of AI-driven service experience.
"Our dynamic collaboration with Türk Telekom and Netsia is founded on shared principles of an open approach to technology development, the fundamental importance of disaggregation and programmability and the drive toward a cloud native infrastructure from the telco cloud into the services edge and radio networks. In short, our organisations agree that the cloud is the network and the network is the cloud.”
Juniper has also published a blog post with more technical detail entitled: "Democratising Networks with Open RAN."