YOU ARE AT:5GHuawei sees 5G moving too fast for Open RAN to catch up

Huawei sees 5G moving too fast for Open RAN to catch up

Performance, end-to-end responsibility among Open RAN concerns expressed by Huawei Carrier Business Group CTO

Of the big three network infrastructure vendors, Nokia has been the most adaptive in regard to Open RAN while Ericsson, an active member of the O-RAN Alliance, is also making product and positioning tweaks to be ready to address operators’ needs around RAN disaggregation. Huawei, on the other hand, hasn’t followed course and this week in a press briefing following the Chinese ICT giant’s annual analyst day event, Carrier Business Group CTO Paul Scanlan expanded on why he sees Open RAN as not ready to meet the needs of 5G.

In response to a question from Mike Dano of Light Reading, Scanlan said the company previously developed a software-based single RAN that collapsed 2G, 3G and 4G functionality into a single box. So, “It’s not that Huawei is scared of it. We’ve tested Open RAN. We understand the challenges. I’m not saying Open RAN isn’t a good idea…but it has challenges. The big window for opportunity in 5G isn’t in building a new type of RAN.”

As far as Open RAN maturity in the context of 5G, Scanlan said more than 1 million Huawei 5G base stations have been deployed and hundreds of millions of consumers with compatible handsets are using those networks. He linked this to risk aversion among operators to give significant network share to technologies that are still developing. “Even if you’re a company that’s very good at software and/or the hardware components, and you want to put together this Open RAN, telecom operators are very conservative…No one is going to give a new vendor or an existing vendor with a new product 100% or 50% market share.”

Asked by RCR Wireless News if he set the maturity-related criticisms aside and focused on the security and transparency aspects of virtual network functions running as software on commodity hardware, would that help Huawei address concerns about the security of its products, Scanlan said the ability to audit Huawei hardware or software wasn’t the issue.

“We have made offers to have all our products audited. I have personally been there…showing every single line of code,” he said. “That’s not the problem. The concept of transparency and all those sorts of things, that is not the heart of the problem in this whole dialogue unfortunately.”

He brought that back to a recurring Huawei talking point about the need for operators and national regulators to implement holistic security verification processes for all telecoms equipment. “Let’s have a certification, validation program. Let’s introduce the concept of technology diplomacy…more collaboration. That’s what improves security of products.”


Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Editor-in-Chief Sean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media's podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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