US tries to pick up pace in developing 5G alternative to Huawei

US tries to pick up pace in developing 5G alternative to Huawei

  • Open Radio Access Network, known as O-RAN, is virtual and software-based, and it has emerged as a potential option
  • The approach is expected to be an alternative not only to Huawei, but to other hardware-centred 5G tech developers such as Ericsson, Samsung and China’s ZTE

As the Trump administration cracks down harder on Huawei Technologies in efforts to keep Chinese equipment out of US communications networks, the race to develop a software-based technology as a 5G alternative is heating up.

The Open Radio Access Network, known as O-RAN, is virtual and software-based, linking devices to other parts of the network through cableless radio connections. In recent months, it has emerged as an option that could be the answer to Huawei.

The momentum quickened recently as Japanese retailer Rakuten reportedly scheduled a September launch for the world’s first 5G virtualised network based entirely on O-RAN. The network is expected to contain equipment made by NEC of Japan, and use software from Airspan, Qualcomm and Intel, all American firms.