The network will be 100% software-enabled, AI-driven, fully automated and cloud-native

Orange 5G Lab

Orange 5G Lab. (Credit: Orange)

French telecommunications firm Orange has announced plans to launch an experimental 5G Stand Alone (SA) fully end-to-end cloud network this month.

The company will launch the experimental network in Lannion, France. The network, which is said to be the first of its kind in Europe, is planned to be expanded to other locations in 2022 to increase the number of users.

It will be a 100% software-enabled network, be data and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven, fully automated and cloud-native.

Incorporating Open RAN technology, the experimental launch is expected to allow the company to assess the co-existence of the technologies and their impact on the network lifecycle.

In addition, it will enable Orange to understand the advantages provided by a fully cloudified network as well as the full potential of AI and data to enhance the consumer experience.

Currently, Orange is working with partners to cover all aspects of the network from devices to IS in a cloud-native mode.

The partners include Mavenir for cloud 5G Open RAN, Casa Systems for cloud 5G SA core network,  and Hewlett Packard Enterprise for Cloud 5G SA Subscriber Data Management (SDM).

Orange has also partnered with Dell Technologies for infrastructure and servers supporting RAN Centralised Unit, Distributed Unit and Core and Xiaomi for devices.

Orange chief technology and innovation officer Michael Trabbia said: “Our ambition is to prepare Orange for the operator of the future by building more resilient and auto-adaptive networks that offer best in class quality of service in each situation.

“This experimental network represents an important milestone on our way to implement and deploy Open RAN and AI technologies to prepare on-demand connectivity and zero touch operator capabilities.”

The project will be implemented for a period of two years and will include several hundred users.

The experimental network is expected to serve as a blueprint for the next generation of efficient and agile networks, as Orange transitions to a ‘zero touch network’.

It will include the setting up of Open RAN and core function on a single Kubernetes-based infrastructure fully managed by Orange.