Alliance to drive AI into the radio network

Alliance to drive AI into the radio network

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

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A new alliance is aiming to integrate AI into cellular technology to boost radio access network (RAN) technology and mobile networks.

The AI RAN Alliance, launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, aims to enhance mobile network efficiency and reduce power consumption by retrofitting existing infrastructure. The radio access network accounts for up to 80% of all energy use for telecoms so there is major focus on reduce the power. 

The founding members include Amazon Web Services, ARM, DeepSig, Ericsson, Microsoft, Nokia, Nvidia and Samsung as well as Softbank which owns the majority of ARM and several operators. The only research member is a US university, and key players such as Analog Devices and AMD/Xilinx are also missing.

There are three main areas of research, ranging from AI for RAN to improve spectral efficiency, integrating AI and RAN processes to use infrastructure more effectively and deploying AI services at the network edge through RAN to increase operational efficiency.

Network operators in the alliance will spearhead the testing and implementation of the AI technologies developed through the collective research efforts of the member companies and universities.

“AI will fundamentally change the way wireless services are deployed and enable broad innovation and operational efficiency across the telco sector. The AI-RAN Alliance brings together industry-shaping companies with expertise from silicon through software to deliver on the promise of ubiquitous AI and 6G,” said Mohamed Awad, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Infrastructure Line of Business at ARM. Look out for the eeNews Europe interview with Awad from MWC.

Deepsig this week showed the first AI implementation of RAN to reduce power consumption. “As a pioneer in AI-native communications, DeepSig’s extensive AI/ML wireless expertise will play a key role in this exciting collaboration to leverage advanced technologies to help the industry unlock unprecedented network efficiency and accelerate innovation,” said Jim Shea, Co-founder and CEO of DeepSig.

Jan Hofmeyr, Vice President at AWS, said, “With the software transformation of radio access networks (RAN) using cloud computing, there is a tremendous opportunity for mobile operators to collect all kinds of data at various layers of the stack. This data acting as the fuel for AI, offers to the telecom industry a tremendous opportunity to not only optimize operations of RAN deployments but also revolutionize the way consumers, enterprises and industries interact with mobile networks.”

Tommaso Melodia, William. L. Smith Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of Northeastern University’s Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things, said, “The formation of the AI-RAN Alliance marks a pivotal moment in the industry’s evolution towards a more open, software-driven, and AI-integrated future. This strategic collaboration is set to fast-track the development of new services and use cases by leveraging the power of openness, softwarization, and AI integration to enhance network performance, energy efficiency, spectrum sharing, and security, ultimately redefining the landscape of global communications.”

“The Alliance marks a critical step toward a future in which the full power of AI and digital twins can be harnessed for mobile networks and the transformation of the telecom industry. The alliance’s work will help accelerate the pace of AI innovation, driving unprecedented levels of efficiency across the industry,” said Ronnie Vasishta, Senior Vice President for Telecom at Nvidia.


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