Tim-JMA Wireless, Saluzzo is the first Italian Open RAN municipality

The first Italian Open RAN network is operational in Saluzzo, Piedmont, and covers the whole municipal area.

The Piedmontese municipality of Saluzzo, in province of Cuneo, is the first in Italy to be entirely covered by a 5G Open RAN network. The on-site operative project is sponsored by TIM, thanks to the cooperation with JMA Wireless, supplier of XRAN: the RAN virtualization software totally compliant with Open RAN Alliance specifications. With a population of 17,000 and a huge territory stretching between the Monte Viso and the river Po, Saluzzo is the first municipality moving from a field trial to an Open RAN network covering the whole municipal area.

An entire Open RAN municipality in Italy

This is a significant step forward since the first Open RAN project deployed in Faenza on TIM mobile network, with the aim of speeding up the development of 5G and Edge Computing digital services through new centralized and in cloud functions.

According to TIM press release, Saluzzo has “one of the most extensive Open RAN coverages in Europe”, and also “The Open RAN solution is used in a complex scenario, with live traffic and radio coverage over multiple frequency bands transmitted from several sites, using TIM tools and methodologies for optimal management and control”.

Other partners

As mentioned, this further technological milestone in Saluzzo has been achieved thanks to the collaboration with JMA Wireless. JMA Wireless has manufactured the RAN software components which virtualize the mobile access network functions by using XRAN, a 100% software product, compliant with Open RAN Alliance criteria. Thanks go also to Microelectronics Technology (MTI) for radio-frequency equipment, Dell Technologies for the hardware (server) and Cisco for transport to the site (switches). Italtel has been in charge of the system integration of this solution.

The deployment of Open RAN and the “intelligent” components of the new radio network are essential also in terms of security and resilience, based on ‘made in TIM’ developments.

The use of SON (Self Organizing Network) systems boosts the spread and inclusion of Open RAN solutions in the TIM network, thus promoting the coexistence of Open RAN functionalities with the other network components.

vRAN already launched in Saluzzo in 2016

Back in 2016 Tim had already started testing its mobile network in Saluzzo, in cooperation with the supplier of software solutions [NP2] Altiostar, in order to experiment the Virtual Radio Access Network (vRAN) technology: a technological step before Open RAN. After this try with Altiostar system, Tim appears to have switched to JMA Wireless Open RAN technology.

Tim press release also states that the development of Open RAN solutions, “in keeping with the 2021-2023 ‘Beyond Connectivity’ plan, allows the potential of Edge Cloud and Artificial Intelligence to be combined. This technology will enable operators to strengthen security standards, improve network performance and optimise costs in order to provide ever more advanced digital services, such as those linked to the new Industry 4.0, Smart City and self-driving solutions”.

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