A rural Open RAN site, announced by Vodafone UK this week, is the first of around 100 rural Open RAN sites that Vodafone will deploy in the UK with the vRAN supplier Mavenir.
Vodafone has opened a new site at an agricultural showground in Wales. It said the site, based on Open RAN tecnology, is the first such site in the UK.
TMN understands that the operator plans to build around 100 more similar such sites with vRAN software supplier Mavenir.
This first site has been built on a vRAN architecture of a Remote Radio Unit (RRU), Distributed Unit (DU) on a Kontron server and a Central Unit (CU) on Dell hardware. The vRAN is in a WindRiver environment for now but will be moved to Red Hat later.
The CU is located 190 miles away in a datacentre in London, connected to the DU via a Split 2 interface. The DU is at the showground site with a 7.2 split to the RRU. Splits are the name given to whereabouts in the radio stack you “split” functionality between separate entities (CU-DU-RRU).
The showground site is a 4G site at 900MHz, with 2G to provide legacy and emergency services.
Vodafone has been a leading proponent of Open RAN as an option for site builds, and has even gone so far as to mandate support for O-RAN 7.2 split in any open tender for sites in Europe. It has had rural TIP Open RAN trials ongoing in Mozambique, DRC and Turkey.