Vodafone Group boosts 5G capacity in Open RAN demo

4 Jun 2021

Vodafone Group has announced that it has successfully demonstrated how an Open Radio Access Network (RAN) platform can boost the capacity of 5G where multiple customers are using the same site. The project was carried out in partnership with Cohere Technologies, VMware, Capgemini Engineering, Intel and Telecom Infra Project (TIP).

Calling the successful trial ‘the latest step in building a cost-effective Open RAN ecosystem that will benefit [its] customers’, Vodafone Group noted that the companies involved had increased the capacity of a 5G cell site twofold by using a programmable, AI-based RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) supporting a mix of Open RAN components from multiple vendors. According to the UK-based telecoms giant, the companies showed the first demonstration of 5G Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) – providing more capacity at a single cell site – running on a RIC located at a multi-vendor Open RAN test site.

Based on the performance of Cohere’s Spectrum Multiplier MU-MIMO scheduler in the trial, it was claimed that when the technique is commercially deployed in a low-band (e.g. 700MHz) network, users will benefit from up to twice the capacity achieved using traditional MIMO. Meanwhile, the software can reportedly be extended to Massive MIMO in mid-band (e.g. 3.5GHz) networks, in order to push capacity gains ‘towards 4-5x’.