Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited (HFCL) has joined the O-RAN Alliance, a world-wide community of mobile network operators, vendors, and research and academic institutions operating in the radio access network (RAN) industry. O-RAN Alliance’s mission is to re-shape the RAN industry towards more intelligent, open, virtualised and fully interoperable mobile networks. The O-RAN standards enable a more competitive and vibrant RAN supplier ecosystem with faster innovation to improve user experience. O-RAN based mobile networks at the same time improve the efficiency of RAN deployments as well as operations by the mobile operators.

HFCL is investing in building a complete portfolio of products for 5G RAN and 5G transport equipment that include 8T8R/32T32R macro RU, indoor/outdoor small cell, cell site router and aggregation routers for fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul.

As an O-RAN Alliance member, HFCL will focus on contributing to standards that ensure a true open and multi-vendor RAN network with emphasis on fronthaul, beamforming, near-real-time RAN intelligent controller (RIC), service management and orchestration (SMO), and end-to-end test specifications. HFCL will also focus on integration and validation of its 5G macro RU products and solutions at plugfests with other O-RAN Alliance members and contributors.

Commenting on the development, Mahendra Nahata, managing director, HFCL, said, “We are excited to be a part of the O-RAN Alliance and look forward to work with alliance members to realise the benefits of O-RAN. Open networking based on a well-defined architecture and pre-validated solution will enable operators to have increased supplier diversity, accelerate innovation, reduce CAPEX/OPEX, and quick roll-out of 5G networks.”

HFCL’s 5G marco radio unit (RU) products are based on O-RAN 7.2 split option that provides an open fronthaul interface towards any O-RAN based third party distributed unit (DU). The company is investing in a state of the art 5G lab at its research and development (R&D) centre in Bangalore for demonstration of various O-RAN use cases and deployment scenarios. The test beds leverage O-RAN architecture and artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) to enable network intelligence and closed loop automation through open and standardised interfaces in a multi-vendor network.