Altiostar firmly establishes Open vRAN leadership with the launch of Rakuten’s 5G Cloud-Native Network

We want to congratulate Rakuten Mobile on the launch of their 5G network in Japan powered by Altiostar’s Open Virtualized Radio Access Network (Open vRAN) software. Supporting mmWave and massive MIMO radios, the Rakuten 5G network is the first to leverage at scale a cloud-native, containerized approach to 5G networks based on microservices.

Journey to 5G

Our journey of innovation with Rakuten continues with the 5G network by further decomposing the CU into independently scalable microservices-based CU-CP & CU-UP cloud-native container network functions (CNNF). The control plane and user plane functions can scale independent of each other governed by the call model of the service provider thus leading to more efficient utilization of resources.

Open RAN network
Open RAN network

The container-based solution allows Rakuten to quickly reconfigure different microservices to scale and flexibly deploy containers for different use cases. This architecture will provide Rakuten with the ability to support various new 5G services and the operational simplicity for efficient scaling, new levels of automation, and reduced network costs. 

The solution supports massive MIMO solutions with advanced beamforming techniques across sub-6Ghz and mmWave spectrums delivering higher spectral efficiency.

Evolution from 4G

Altiostar has been at the forefront of the movement for digital transformation of radio access networks through virtualization and disaggregation. We were the first company to have commercially deployed at scale a split CU/DU architecture based 4G open virtual RAN solution at Rakuten.

The 4G rollout at Rakuten continues at frantic pace and as of September 2020 there were more than 18,000+ macro radios on air, serving major urban centers in Japan. Field data from Rakuten’s 4G deployment has shown that Open vRAN performance meets or exceeds the industry benchmarks in terms of data speed, availability, etc.

Benefits of Open vRAN

Disaggregation of software from hardware brings the agility that is so important in today’s hyper-competitive market. With Open vRAN, service providers are assured of capital investment protection while innovation cycles continue in software, enabling continuous delivery of new few features/ functionalities.

Virtualization of RAN further extends the platform centric approach to the network edge that is so essential for breaking down the operational silos and implement unified management practices for accelerated service deployments and simplicity.

In further simplification of network architecture, the same Open vRAN software is used across all deployment models, be it is macro, micro, massive MIMO, and across different RAT types i.e. 4G & 5G. This unified approach brings unprecedented flexibility to the operations teams for network monitoring and troubleshooting.

With virtualization of RAN network functions, it is now possible to gather granular information from different software modules that paves the way for automated operations aided by artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques.

Open vRAN Leadership

The announcement by Rakuten once again demonstrates continuation of thought leadership and innovation by Altiostar in the 5G domain. Rakuten has been a disruptor in the market and we look forward to continuing to work with them as partners in the journey to transform the mobile network into an open and web-scale architecture.


About The Author
Ashraf Dahod President and CEO