INTERVIEW: Mike Murphy, Ericsson’s North America CTO, stood by a testimony given to the US Federal Communications Commission in 2021 that the company didn’t see open RAN as having significant performance and cost improvements over traditional set-ups.

During the recent MWC Las Vegas 2022, Murphy stated his team has kept doing iterations of the same study to see if its assessment of open RAN has changed in 2022, but “it hasn’t really”.

“In fact, we almost see a bit of a greater separation between open systems and purpose-built”, he noted.

“Now there’s a realisation that the operating temperature of IT systems is a bit more narrow than telco systems so maybe you need some HVAC equipment at some of the sites.”

Murphy stated while open RAN is still a moving target, Ericsson’s conclusion is based on a combination of moving to cloud RAN and current O-RAN Alliance specifications, both of which are changing over time.

He stated the O-RAN Alliance could look at evolving its current standards to remove a disparity between today’s performance and “what we could do with a new specification”. Murphy added a cloud RAN deal struck with Intel earlier this year involves the companies “looking at how we can jointly improve the performance of Intel chips and our usage of them for Layer 1 software, so that might actually reduce the gap over time.”

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