How do you showcase RAN innovation happening in real time on a grand scale?
The answer, of course, is to hold an appathon – and since the innovation in question evolves around running rApps and xApps on a RAN Intelligent Controller, or RIC, this appathon is aptly called a rAppathon.
Brought to you by VMware and Intel, developers from seven partners of VMware will join an invite-only event at MWC Barcelona 2023 to pitch RAN applications developed on VMware RAN Intelligent Controller to a panel of expert judges drawn from the telecom industry. The event takes place live from MWC on Tuesday, Feb. 28th (UPDATE – this event is at capacity).
VMware’s Lakshmi Mandyam, VP Service Provider Product Management and Partner Ecosystem, and Intel’s Udayan Mukherjee, Senior Intel Fellow focused on RIC and RAN, will co-host the rAppathon. Mukherjee said, “The rAppathon showcases several great examples of creative and leading-edge RAN innovators using Intel technology to develop interesting apps and services that give a glimpse of what is possible with a fully software-based virtualized RAN.”
VMware RIC is a multi-RAN, multi-cloud platform that can host near-real-time applications, or xApps, and non-real-time applications, or rApps. The platform gives you the power of programmability — you can run apps to customize, automate, and optimize your multi-vendor radio access network.
As such, the rApps and xApps demonstrated in the rAppathon will be evaluated on their innovation, network impact, business benefits, and improvements to RAN sustainability.
And you, as an observer, get to watch them compete in front of the judges. You can also see these operations-altering applications in the RAN Innovation Center inside the VMware booth throughout MWC.
Modernize and Optimize the RAN with VMware RIC
VMware RIC modernizes the RAN to be open and modular, built with best-of-breed solutions from a vibrant ecosystem of partners, while optimizing the RAN to ensure that all the solutions work harmoniously.
VMware RIC consists of two products: VMware Distributed RIC and VMware Centralized RIC, which are responsible for the control and management functions of a disaggregated open RAN. As a non-real-time RIC, VMware Centralized RIC hosts rApps to control and automate RAN elements and resources. As a near-real-time RIC, VMware Distributed RIC runs xApps — extensible microservices from third-party vendors — to manage and optimize RAN resources for network functions.
In the O-RAN Alliance’s architecture for an open RAN, xApps and rApps have at their disposal such things as open interfaces, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to optimize RAN resources — and participants will be demonstrating these capabilities during the rAppathon with the hopes of winning.
rAppathon Entrants and their Use Cases
As part of the VMware RIC SDK partner program, VMware partners have been using the RIC SDK from VMware to build rApps and xApps. The partner program gives engineers access to a software development kit and sample code that helps jump-start and expedite development. The SDK includes open API specifications, libraries, and a Kubernetes Custom Resource Definition (CRD).
The rAppathon at MWC Barcelona will feature the following entries from companies participating in the VMware RIC SDK partner program:
* Aira Technologies: High Fidelity MIMO Channel Estimation and Prediction using Machine Learning (xApp). “At the VMware rAppathon, Aira Technologies will showcase the first in its series of xApps that use ML to improve the fundamental performance of the RAN. We are able to achieve performance improvements on COTS hardware that was previously impossible on legacy solutions,” said RaviKiran Gopalan, Co-Founder and CTO of Aira Technologies.
Find out more about Aira Technologies and how they are re-imagining wireless communications by using machine learning at https://www.aira-technology.com/.
* AirHop Communications: Energy Savings via Dynamic Multi-Carrier Management (rApp). Joe Thome, Vice President Business Operations and Marketing of AirHop, said: “The VMware-sponsored rAppathon is a great opportunity for AirHop to showcase the benefits of OpEx reduction, preservation of QoS, and more sustainable networks with our AI/ML-powered Energy Savings rApp as well as the deployment readiness of the rApp with VMware Centralized RIC. We look forward to highlighting the value and impact of our rApp to operators and the open RAN community.” Find out more at https://www.airhopcomm.com/.
* Aspire Technology: RAN Governance using AI-Powered Anomaly Detection (rApp). “At the VMware rAppathon, we will demo the first step in Aspire’s roadmap to a governance rApp. In this step, we analyze performance monitoring data and detect anomalies using AI/ML techniques. This allows us to detect network issues and will enable the autonomous resolution of these issues in the future,” said Phillipe Glynn, Technical Director, Aspire. Find out more at https://www.aspiretechnology.com/.
* HCLSoftware: Energy Saving Application with VMware Centralized RIC using O-RAN R1-based REST APIs (rApp). “The integration of the HCL rAPP for Intelligent Dynamic Energy Saving (iDES), including its collectors and ML models with VMware Centralized RIC, represents a significant milestone in the maturity of the O-RAN ecosystem. HCL rApp’s can now be deployed not only on HCL’s non-real-time RIC platform but also on VMware Centralized RIC,” said Amir Krispin, Director Product Management, ANA Platform at HCL. Find out more at https://www.hcltech.com/telecom.
* Net AI: xUPscaler, an AI-Driven Traffic Forecasting and Resource Autoscaling Application (xApp). Net AI’s solution embeds a neural engine that exploits spatio-temporal correlations to accurately predict multi-step traffic demand across cells. “These insights inform the anticipatory allocation of compute capacity at the level of CU-UPs, mitigating overprovisioning and therefore cutting CapEx and energy consumption, but also reducing the number of underprovisoning events that can result in SLA violations and penalties,” said Paul Patras, CEO and Co-Founder, Net AI. Find out more at https://netai.tech/.
* Rimedo Labs: A Traffic Steering Application to enable Intelligent and Flexible user-to-cell association (xApp). Marcin Dryjanski, CEO, Rimedo Labs, said: “The rAppathon gives Rimedo Labs a high-profile platform to demonstrate the capabilities of our Policy-controlled and service-based Traffic Steering xApp to industry leaders. The TS xApp allows per-user cell association, while at the same time keeping the network load balanced. Our collaboration with VMware shows how O-RAN architecture makes it possible for third-party developers to introduce innovative functionality into the RAN ecosystem.” Find out more about Rimedo Labs and their O-RAN services and portfolio at https://rimedolabs.com/.
* VIAVI Solutions: A geolocation xApp to unlock location intelligence and enable development of location-enriched applications in O-RAN. “The VMware rAppathon is a great opportunity to demonstrate VIAVI’s subscriber-centric, advanced geolocation technology and the foundational role it plays in the new era of RAN automation via the RIC,” said Edoardo Rizzi, Vice President and General Manager, Automated Mobility Solutions at VIAVI. “The VIAVI Geolocation App can expose rich and accurate geolocated data to rAPPs and xAPPs, including insights on spatial distribution and dynamics for subscribers, devices, network and service performance, thus enabling the RIC to make better decisions in many Near-RT and Non-RT optimization and automation use cases.” Find out more at https://www.viavisolutions.com/.
Judges and Criteria
A panel of expert judges will determine the winner of the rAppathon. The judges include senior executives from mobile operators and leading industry analysts:
- Holger Erkens, Senior Partner Manager, Deutsche Telekom
- Paco Martin, Group Head of Radio Product, Vodafone
- Sadayuki Abeta, Vice President, NTT DoCoMo
- Sidd Chenumolu, Vice President of Technology Development, Dish
- Roy Chua, Avid Think
- Patrick Kelly, Appledore Research
The winner will be determined by the highest aggregate score across the following areas:
- Business impact
- Sustainability impact
Find Out More About VMware RIC, the SDK, and the Partner Program
For more information about VMware RIC, see the VMware RIC product page or download its datasheet.
Join Us for All the Fun and Connect with Multiple Vendors
Join us at MWC Barcelona on at Booth 3M11 for all the fun as we see the latest and greatest RAN innovations, which will be showcased in the RAN Innovation Centre, and determine who will be crowned as VMware’s first rAppathon winner.
That said, the real importance of the rAppathon is multi-vendor collaboration and RAN innovation, so in that sense all the participants are already winners. And that’s why there’s a cocktail reception after the rAppathon.