DISH Wireless, a subsidiary of EchoStar, today announced that it was awarded a USD 50 million grant from the US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to establish the Open RAN Center for Integration and Deployment (ORCID). ORCID will allow participants to test and validate their hardware and software solutions (RU, DU, and CU) against a complete commercial-grade Open RAN network deployed by DISH.
Strengthening the Open RAN Ecosystem
"The Open RAN Center for Integration and Deployment (ORCID) will serve a critical role in strengthening the global Open RAN ecosystem and building the next generation of wireless networks," said EchoStar. "By leveraging DISH's experience in deploying the world's first standalone Open RAN 5G network, ORCID will be uniquely positioned to test and evaluate Open RAN interoperability, performance, and security from domestic and international vendors."
Consortium and Technology Partners
In a press release, DISH Wireless noted that this grant is NTIA's largest award under the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund (Innovation Fund). ORCID will be housed on DISH's secure Cheyenne, Wyoming campus and will be supported by consortium partners Fujitsu, Mavenir, and VMware, as well as technology partners Analog Devices, ARM, Cisco, Dell Technologies, Intel, JMA Wireless, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Samsung.
DISH's Open RAN 5G Network
As the only operator in the United States to commercially deploy a standalone Open RAN 5G network, DISH said it will leverage its expertise, having validated Open RAN technology at scale across the country along with its industry partners. As of today, the DISH network covers over 246 million Americans nationwide.
"At ORCID, participants will be able to test and evaluate individual or multiple network elements to ensure Open RAN interoperability, performance, and security, and contribute to the development, deployment, and adoption of open and interoperable standards-based radio access networks. ORCID's 'living laboratory' will drive the Open RAN ecosystem — from lab testing to commercial deployment," said the official release.