Juniper Networks, Parallel Wireless and Vodafone Group began testing a multi-vendor RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) with a view to boosting compatibility with open RAN interfaces.

The trial is being conducted at Vodafone test facilities in Turkey with a focus on tenant-aware admission control use cases.

Testing will include an open, software-driven architecture employing virtualisation to deliver more programmable, automated traffic management. Focusing on delivering tenant-aware admission control capability could enable operators to tailor their services and provide improved user experiences, the companies claimed.

In addition, real-time tracking and enforcement of radio resources across the RAN enables mission-critical users such as hospitals and schools to receive prioritised mobile data services delivery.

The companies plan to push their trials to Vodafone’s test infrastructure at a later date.

RICs are still in the development stage, but will ultimately play a crucial role in open RAN by enabling third-party developers and vendors to develop new services and applications, which operators can then select as required.

The controllers come in two varieties: near real time and non-real time. In the architecture defined by the O-RAN Alliance, RICs could eventually replace self-organising networks (SON).

While RICs are being developed by the likes of industry giants Nokia and Ericsson, US-based Juniper Networks and VMware joined the fray in late 2021.