Microsoft and Industry Leaders Enable RAN and Platform Programmability with Project Janus
Published Feb 25 2024 07:50 PM 3,619 Views
Microsoft

Open RAN-compatible architecture gives CSPs the blueprints and tools to optimize their networks using AI/ML and dynamic, customizable data  

 

Barcelona – February 26, 2024. Today at MWC 2024, Microsoft announced Project Janus, along with leaders across the telecommunications industry. Project Janus uses telco-grade cloud infrastructure compatible with O-RAN standards to draw on fine-grained telemetry from the radio access network (RAN), the edge cloud infrastructure, and other sources of data. This enables a communication service provider (CSP) to gain detailed monitoring and fast closed loop control of their RAN network.  Janus has support and participation from CSPs such as Deutsche Telekom, and Vodafone; RAN and infrastructure providers CapGemini, Mavenir, and Intel Corporation; and RIC vendors and software innovators Juniper Networks, Aira Technologies, Amdocs, and Cohere Technologies.

 

“We know how vital the performance, security, and automation of the network is for CSPs, and going forward, more accurately optimizing complex networks,” said Yousef Khalidi, Corporate Vice President, Azure for Operators at Microsoft. “That’s why we’re excited to debut Project Janus alongside leading partners and supporters as an O-RAN compatible extension that makes RAN and platform even more programmable and optimized.” 

 

Project Janus helps CSPs optimize RAN performance through visibility, analytics, AI, and closed loop control.  To meet this objective, Microsoft and industry collaborators built a set of capabilities including RAN instrumentation tools that:

  • leverage the existing E2 O-RAN interface
  • update its service models to communicate with components of a CSP’s RAN and SMO architecture including the Distributed Unit (DU), Centralized Unit (CU), and RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC). 

 

RAN, RIC, and xApp and rApp vendors are able to develop and use instrumentation tools to capture RAN data dynamically, and also combine them with platform data from cloud-based platforms hosting the RAN workloads.

 

This architecture enables several new use cases, such as precise analytics for anomaly detection and root cause analysis, interference detection, and optimizing other RAN performance metrics. The framework also enables new applications, such as fast vRAN power saving, failover, and live migration.

 

Project Janus will be available for everyone to include in their platform and network functions and will be supported natively by Microsoft’s Azure Operator Nexus platform.

 

To see specific use case examples, visit the “Unlock Operator Value with Programmable RAN & Platform” pod in the Microsoft booth at Mobile World Congress 2024 at 3H30 in Hall 3 during February 29-29, 2024 and check out www.microsoft.com/research/project/programmable-ran-platform/videos.  Also read Mavenir, Microsoft and Intel Team for Real-Time Layer 1 vRAN Control white paper.

 

Telecommunications leaders are sharing support for the collaborative initiative:

 

Deutsche Telekom – “This initiative shows great promise to increase the pace of innovation and unlock new value through dynamic, customizable RAN data and analytics that can work within an O-RAN compliant framework. We look forward to seeing the participation by even more companies and developers in this burgeoning ecosystem.” –  Petr Ledl, Vice President of Network Trials and Integration Lab and Chief Architect of Access Disaggregation program at Deutsche Telekom.

 

Vodafone – “The dynamic service models enabled by Project Janus are fully aligned with the vision of Open RAN in supporting the scale deployment of software-defined RAN.  Access to the correct data at the right time and intelligent algorithms based on AI/ML capabilities will introduce significant performance and capacity benefits for all existing cellular networks and enable real autonomous ones.” - Francisco Martín Pignatelli, Head of Open RAN at Vodafone. 

 

Hear from Microsoft Collaborators:

 

CapGemini – “CapGemini in collaboration with Microsoft has successfully demonstrated implementation of several use cases such as anomaly detection, energy savings and interference detection using Janus. These efforts have also demonstrated the benefits of being able to combine and reason over dynamic data from RAN, incremental to the predefined data types already available today, with dynamic data from the O-Cloud platform using Janus dynamic service models such as resolving key integration issues between RAN and platform as well as offering the power of leveraging AI/ML applications by developers to more precisely target areas of improvement for the RAN network.” – Rajat Kapoor, Vice President and Head of Software Frameworks at Capgemini.

 

Mavenir – “Improving RAN visibility and real-time control is essential to a CSP’s network performance and security, and it is Mavenir’s goal to support our customers with state-of-the-art observability. Data from our O-RAN-compliant DU/CU can be easily extracted dynamically and made available within our product management tools for tuning the operation of the Mavenir RAN. We demonstrated an advanced on-site debugging tool and customizable interference detection solution with Janus, which highlighted the flexibility of Janus to solve problems in real-time and improve system performance.  With Janus, data from our Open RAN compliant DU can also be made available to an ecosystem of O-RAN focused application developers to provide insights and recommendations to the CSP to address and improve their network performance.” – Bejoy Pankajakshan, EVP, Chief Technology & Strategic Officer at Mavenir.

 

Intel Corporation – “With Intel FlexRAN reference architecture, Intel has been at the forefront of enabling the industry with virtualized, Open RAN to drive performance, flexibility and innovations, including AI. Microsoft’s Janus builds on FlexRAN’s software programmability to expose new data streams and application capabilities to the next generation of xApp developers, accelerating the adoption of AI in RAN networks to provide even more value to service providers”- Cristina Rodriguez, Vice President and General Manager of Wireless Access Network Division at Intel.

 

Juniper Networks – “Using the existing E2 O-RAN interface, Janus introduces the capability to bring more timely and customized RAN telemetry to Juniper Near-Real Time RIC. From this, we can enable xApp developers to use the incremental data to more precisely target areas of improvement for the performance and optimization of a RAN network.” – Constantine Polychronopoulos, Group VP of 5G and Telco Cloud at Juniper Networks.

 

Aira Technologies – “Our mission at Aira as an AI Defined Networking company is to enable the fully autonomous cellular RAN and our application of ML to wireless baseband processing is an industry first. Aira has showcased the use of Janus to collect and forward dynamic RAN data into our near-real time xApp where we apply leading-edge machine learning to drive better channel estimation and prediction to help maximize downlink throughput and range. We look forward to demonstrating, with Microsoft and the growing O-RAN ecosystem, even more innovation built on disaggregated and programmable networks.” – Anand Chandrasekher, Co-Founder and CEO at Aira Technologies.

 

Amdocs – “As a leading service provider and member of the ARI-5G Consortium, Amdocs is a key proponent of Open RAN and dedicated enabler of RAN intelligence and optimization and we do this today by offering among other things, Amdocs’ xApps such as the massive MIMO xApp.  With Janus we look forward to leveraging dynamic service models with our network applications to further accelerate RAN performance and programmability for our CSP customers.” - Oleg Volpin, Division President Europe, Telefonica Global and Network Offering Division at Amdocs.

 

Cohere Technologies – “Cohere along with key operators and vendors is driving Multi-G  ecosystem to enable co-existence of 4G, 5G and 6G and helping operators to do spectrum management in a seamless way. Janus’s dynamic infrastructure helps realize Multi-G’s dynamic infrastructure requirements and helps this vision." - Prem Sankar Gopannan, Vice President of Product Architecture and Software Engineering.

 

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