Remarks for Special Issue on Open Network Technologies

Vol.17 No.1 September 2023 Special Issue on Open Network Technologies — Network Technologies and Advanced Solutions at the Heart of an Open and Green Society
Corporate Executive Vice President (EVP) and President of Telecom Services Business Unit

Since the onset of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, we have witnessed substantial and far-reaching changes in every sphere of Life. Remote work, online education, and e-commerce were initially alternatives to going to physical locations, but they have since proven effective in terms of time management and activity efficiency. Even as we begin to return to our pre-pandemic ways of life, these elements have become essential parts of our daily routines. An important factor that supports these changes is our information and communication networks.

At the same time, the social environment and technological trends surrounding information and communication networks are also undergoing rapid changes. With the emergence of cloud and edge services utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), we can easily access all kinds of information around the world through our smartphones. Digital transformations (DX) across various industries continue to drive significant improvements in efficiency and foster the creation of new value. This is achieved through the collection and analysis of large volumes and diverse types of digital information, enabling the delivery of optimized solutions. To realize diversification of these services, it is expected that not only will information and communication networks be accelerated, but network devices and software modules will be combined in an open environment, enabling flexible adaptation to meet individual service requirements and to seamlessly connect people, things, and events in the service. One of the initiatives in this endeavor is open architecture.

Since the early 2010s, NEC has been at the forefront of promoting open architecture in information and communication networks. Our leadership in the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) has been instrumental in driving the advancement of network function virtualization (NFV) within the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), resulting in the realization of software-defined and virtualized core networks. This has significantly simplified the process of configuring networks tailored to specific service requirements. Over the past few years, NEC has also placed a strong emphasis on fostering openness in the radio interface through its involvement in the O-RAN ALLIANCE. Furthermore, NEC has taken strides in developing open and all-photonics network, which will serve as the infrastructure for ultra-high-speed communications in the 2030s. These core, wireless, and optical technology assets based on open architecture will be interconnected, resulting in a substantial enhancement in the value of services offered by information and communication networks.

In 2022, NEC consolidated its initiatives into a suite of solutions called NEC Open Networks as part of our commitment. In this special issue, we will introduce this suite of solutions and delve into the research and development of Beyond 5G/6G technology.

To effectively achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in terms of attaining carbon neutrality, it is imperative to transform information and communication networks. In the era of 5G open networks where every person, thing, and event is connected to the network, it is crucial to mitigate the energy consumption associated with rapidly increasing data communications and the processing power required for AI and ML applications. Telecommunications carriers have already taken significant steps to contribute to the realization of a carbon neutral society by communicating their commitment to international organizations such as the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) and the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN). NEC shares this commitment and aims to achieve these goals by developing highly efficient wireless and optical devices and also by improving the efficiency of open network operation and management.

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    The names O-RAN ALLIANCE, O-RAN and their logo are trademarks or registered marks of O-RAN ALLIANCE e.V.
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    All other company names and product names that appear in this paper are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.