Nokia’s service enablement platform (SEP) delivers radio network programmability, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) innovation across the Open RAN (O-RAN) ecosystem, according to information released by the company.
Launched in coordination with Nokia’s RIC xApps, including advanced traffic steering and anomaly detection, which are in proofs-of-concepts and trials with communications service providers (CSP), the SEP platform combines the near-real-time RAN intelligent controller (RIC) and multi-access edge computing (MEC) together on a single platform. The combination provides unique value and new innovative use cases, according to Nokia.
Nokia SEP makes use of low-latency information to boost optimization through closed-loop automation and faster, more flexible service deployments. It also adds programmability with AI/ML technologies, enabling innovative RAN use cases, including automated AI/ML-based network optimization xApps and enterprise-specific RAN adaptation. It is a single platform that deploys both RIC and MEC capabilities for intelligence and innovation, and it can be adapted for specific CSP or enterprise requirements.
Using Nokia’s edge-optimized AirFrame servers, SEP can run on the edge and share infrastructure with cloud RAN and other virtualized network functions. AirFrame Open Edge provides secured, high-performance ultra-small footprint edge cloud infrastructure for indoor and outdoor environments.
The platform launches with Nokia RIC xApps, a suite of plugins that give CSPs advanced control of 5G radio network use cases, including the Nokia advanced traffic steering xApp, an AI/ML-based optimization algorithm that dynamically improves the efficiency of traffic distribution in the radio access network. It will also include the Nokia anomaly detection xApp, which uses machine learning to quickly detect and classify irregular behavior patterns in the RAN. SEP supports xApps from different providers.
Daryl Schoolar, practice leader for service provider networks at Omdia, said that the level of activity in the Open RAN space has rapidly evolved over the last 12 months. “Nokia’s latest announcement about implementing the O-RAN standardized near real-time RAN intelligent controller function together with MEC on its service enablement platform product, which supports xApps from multiple sources, including third-party, reinforces Nokia´s firm commitment to O-RAN and Open RAN solutions,” he said.
Pasi Toivanen, head of edge cloud BU at Nokia, said that embracing open collaboration is key to the development of 5G use cases and harnessing the true power of the technology. “Nokia’s service enablement platform adds a new intelligence layer to the RAN and enables the creation of high-value-add use cases,” he said. “This is part of Nokia’s continued commitment to leading an open mobile future with a strong network performance and security. We are committed to making it easier for our CSP customers to actively support the adoption of Open RAN principles and standards.”
Nokia performed the first RIC trials in commercial networks and is engaging with CSP and research groups globally with proof of concepts, trials and development for O-RAN and RIC, including public trials with AT&T and China Mobile.
The Nokia SEP is available for CSPs starting in the first quarter of 2021. Nokia is already working closely with CSPs to commercialize use cases (xApps) during 2021.