Altiostar and Future recently ad a collaboration to provide a new portfolio of radios based on the principles of OpenRAN for the American market. But Wireless parallel, another member of the Open RAN Policy Coalition, said that Huawei’s dominance cannot be overcome until the industry addresses a single problem.
“We are delighted to see this new partnership and its potential to create new radio variants for more American frequencies,” said Steve Papa, CEO of Parallel Wireless. “So far, too much attention has been paid to things like virtualization. Open RAN is just an interface like any other that promotes interoperability across a large ecosystem of providers and protocols, but we firmly believe that ORAN will only be as good as the radios available. “
However, in response to news from Altiostar and Mavenir, Parallel Wireless says that until the industry can produce Huawei’s high standard massive MIMO active antennas, it will be in a constant catch-up game. And the company says Huawei’s dominance is largely due to its investment in just one area: gallium nitride semiconductors.
“These active 5G antennas (Massive MIMO) are where Huawei has their lead and the development of this range of radios will not change this lead,” said Papa. “Huawei has developed the most energy-efficient radios because it invests in much more gallium nitride semiconductor solutions than Ericsson, Nokia and other independent radio providers.
“Energy efficiency is of paramount importance for operators, especially in rural and 5G deployments, as it has an impact on the weight of the radio (heat dissipation) and the size of the radio, thus affecting everything from the cost of upgrading the towers with new steel, larger copper cables to transport electricity, greater backup batteries, larger generators, fuel tanks and even the size of the crane required for installation .
Investment in gallium nitride
And according to Parallel Wireless, once you move to more rural areas, the biggest challenge for operators is to “sustain” their investments. In these circumstances, the company says, operators should know that if they deploy ORAN, while facing today’s 4G LTE problems, they can also solve the massive high-end 5G MIMO problem, without the need to of a tranche of new investments.
“For operators to make large Open RAN investments, they need to be confident that Open RAN can solve their entire problem and it is essential that Open RAN has an answer for massive 5G MIMO,” said Papa. . “To become competitive with Huawei’s 5G, the industry needs to put the money into the semiconductor innovation that enables massive MIMO radios that are cost effective and more energy efficient than Huawei.
“If Ericsson and Nokia are struggling to be competitive with Huawei radios, we shouldn’t expect Open RAN to magically solve this problem using the same semiconductors currently available for Ericsson and Nokia. Given the long lead times for semiconductor innovation, it is imperative that this happen in 2020 if Open RAN is to offer a convincing alternative to Huawei in a few years time, ”concluded Papa.