Connecting the Dots

5G Open RAN Will Lead to Secure, Innovative Wireless Networks

As the US telecommunications sector continues its work to make high-speed 5G wireless networks a reality across the nation, policymakers and industry stakeholders face critical choices as they design, fund, and deploy the critical radio access networks (RAN) that will form the backbone of our 5G network infrastructure for years to come.

The RAN—composed of cell towers, radio antennas, small cell systems, and more—is responsible for connecting user equipment and cellular-enabled devices to the larger 5G core network. Fully realized, software-powered 5G networks have the potential to generate billions in new economic activity and create thousands of new jobs developing 5G applications and building the necessary infrastructure. the BSA Foundation’s latest report, “How Open RAN Technologies Will Lead to Secure, Innovative 5G Networks,” explains the concept of Open RAN, a different approach for developing RAN hardware, and outlines the inherent advantages of configuring 5G wireless networks using this new framework.

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By deploying next-gen network technology, network operators will have more choice and flexibility in the design and specifications of their networks. Developers will be able to better implement virtualized software and cloud-based components, maximizing the benefits of 5G for businesses and consumers.

Compared to traditional “closed RAN” systems that were designed with inflexible proprietary hardware components, Open RAN technologies will deliver better network security and increased transparency in the network, improved versatility and scalability for network operators, and more network innovation by allowing new market entrants to compete in the RAN sector.

To achieve these benefits, Open RAN networks rely on four interconnected principles:

  • Virtualization of RAN components, allowing intelligent software to replace hardware-dependent network functions.
  • Open interfaces and protocols, which govern how network equipment communicates and exchanges data, will make the 5G RAN infrastructure more agile and versatile by design.
  • Interoperability among RAN vendors, giving networks the ability to mix and match components regardless of vendor, mitigating the “vendor lock-in” problem.
  • Secure, industry-developed standards, ensuring strong cybersecurity and promoting transparency across the RAN ecosystem.

To read’s full report on 5G Open RAN and the accompanying infographic, please click here.

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Jake MoribitoJake Morabito
Program Manager,

Jake Morabito serves as Program Manager at the BSA Foundation. In this capacity, he provides research, analysis, and project management support for the Foundation’s key organizational initiatives and events.

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