Verizon says it is laying the foundation for O-RAN
Verizon says that it has already deployed more than 130,000 Open RAN-capable radios in its network as part of an ongoing modernization project in which the carrier is putting in place a virtualized Radio Access Network architecture as a “precursor” to Open RAN.
That 130,000 figure includes massive multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) radios, part of a previous Verizon announcement that it was putting in 15,000 virtualized cell sites with O-RAN-compliant baseband units. The carrier announced in 2019 that it was putting a cloud-native, containerized core in place, and in 2020 it said that it had achieved fully virtualized baseband functions in the RAN. Since then, Verizon says, it has been “aggressively deploying that solution throughout the network.”
“The addition of this new O-RAN capable equipment underscores Verizon’s commitment to driving O-RAN standards and technology in the industry,” the carrier said in a release, further explaining that its V-RAN efforts “run in parallel with and overlap Open RAN efforts.”
“Verizon is fully supportive of O-RAN technology and is focused on commercializing an operationally sound O-RAN architecture,” said Adam Koeppe, SVP of technology planning at Verizon. “Our commitment to developing O-RAN standards and to deploying compliant equipment in our active Radio Access Network is helping to drive the industry forward which will result in a variety of tangible benefits for our customers who expect leading-edge technology from Verizon.”
Verizon says that virtualization and orchestration are key components of the massive, multi-year upgrades to its network architecture, which “consolidates, simplifies, and modernizes its core and access networks.” Already, the carrier said, its move to a virtualized, container-based and cloud-native architecture “has led to more flexibility, faster delivery of services, greater scalability, and significant cost efficiency in the network.”
“With this virtualized baseband unit, Verizon laid the foundation for deployment flexibility, scaling, and rapid integration of services for existing and new use cases,” the carrier continued, adding: “This creates the foundation for O-RAN.” .