Airspan Networks launches Tokyo 5G innovation lab

Airspan said that the Japan Innovation Lab will host several Open RAN architectures

Airspan Networks announced plans to expand its 5G Innovation Lab initiative in Tokyo to accommodate accelerating network adoption and scaling in the Asia-Pacific region.

Airspan noted that the Tokyo office will spearhead the effort to meet growing demand for critical interoperability testing and integration simplicity in public and private networks as technology continue to reach new 5G use cases.

The Japanese lab ab will host several Open RAN architectures, from fully-disaggregated software in a split 7.2 format to a software-embedded All-In-One RAN platform. Airspan said that a key driver of this lab is to simplify integration with the rest of the ecosystem by inviting partners with 5G Cores, COTS Servers, UE/CPE/IOT devices, virtual platforms, Hyperscalers, and more.

“Tokyo was a clear choice as we sought to broaden the scope of our 5G Innovation Lab,” said Airspan CMO and CSO Henrik Smith-Petersen. “We have a robust permanent support team due to ongoing deployments with mobile-network-operators in the country and have honed our testing and verification infrastructure there as a result. It is natural that the Innovation Lab would find its newest site here, Japan is a hotspot for 5G.”

In October last year, Cisco and partners JTower, Mitsui Knowledge Company (MKI) and Airspan Networks have deployed a local 5G Open RAN (O-RAN) environment for in-building infrastructure sharing, with the main aim of introducing local 5G networks in Japan.

The deployment is built with Cisco Private 5G, JTower’s Local 5G in-building infrastructure sharing system, Airspan’s 5G vRAN while MKI is responsible for the construction and testing of the end-to-end 5G wireless environments, the vendors said.

Airspan’s Open RAN design provides the Radio Unit (RU), Distributed Unit (DU), and Central Unit (CU) that make up a 5G base station in a single chassis. MKI is responsible for the construction and testing of the end-to-end 5G wireless environments.

Airspan Networks secured contracts for the provision of 87 new private 4G/5G networks in third quarter 2022.

“Global demand across our lead customers remains strong. We had our strongest quarter in terms of bookings in over 2 years and over $35 million in bookings from our three largest customers. We are also seeing good progress in the developing private networks market. In the third quarter, we added 87 private network wins across 4G and 5G, and this is up 40% compared to the previous quarter and brings our total to over 400 private network wins,” Airspan President and COO Glenn Laxdal said during a previous conference call with investors.

Meanwhile, the company’s Chairman and CEO Eric Stonestrom noted that the need for enterprise infrastructure to improve operations for cost savings and labor shortage purposes is strong and growing despite economic headwinds at a global level.

“Managed services for major carriers are expensive in a time where cost cutting is essential. New spectrum options allow enterprises to build their own networks independent of the carriers. So a local 5G infrastructure is the most straightforward path to modernization. Our 87 third quarter project wins in private networks reflects both the demand trends and our strong position,” Stonestrom added.

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