Microsoft Innovation in RAN Analytics and Control


Written by Yousef Khalidi, Corporate Vice President, Azure for Operators


Currently, Microsoft is working on RAN Analytics and Control technologies for virtualized RAN running on Microsoft Edge platforms. Our goal is to empower any virtualized RAN solution provider and operators to realize the full potential of disaggregated and programmable networks. We aim to develop platform technologies that virtualized RAN vendors can leverage to gain analytics insights in their RAN software operations, and to use these insights for operational automations, machine learning, and AI-driven optimizations.


Microsoft has recently made important progress in RAN analytics and control technology. Microsoft Azure for Operators is introducing flexible, dynamically loaded service models to both the RAN software stack and cloud/edge platforms hosting the RAN, to accelerate the pace of innovation in Open RAN.


The goal of Open RAN is to accelerate innovation in the RAN space through the disaggregation of functions and exposure of internal interfaces for interoperability, controllability, and programmability. The current standardization effort of O-RAN by O-RAN Alliance, specifies the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) architecture that exposes a set of telemetry and control interfaces with predefined service models (known as the E2 interface). Open RAN vendors are expected to implement all E2 service models specified in the standard. Near-real-time RAN controls are made possible with xApp applications accessing these service models.


Microsoft’s innovation extends this standard-yet-static interface. It introduces the capability of getting detailed internal states and real-time telemetric data out of the live RAN software in a dynamic fashion for new RAN control applications. With this technology, together with detailed platform telemetry, operators can achieve better network monitoring and performance optimization for their 5G networks, and enable new AI, analytics, and automation capabilities that were not possible before.


This year, Microsoft, together with contributions from Intel and Capgemini, has developed an analytics and control approach that was recognized with the Light Reading Editor’s Choice award under the category of Outstanding Use case: Service provider AI. This innovation calls for dynamic services models for Open RAN.


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