Intelligent Applications: The Latest Tool for Maximizing Network Efficiency

Author: Sanil Ramachandran, Director of Technology, Networks Business, Samsung Electronics America

As 5G networks evolve and embrace a cloud-based architecture, mobile operators are building increasingly complex networks that require intelligent and user-friendly solutions to manage their many intricacies. The Radio Access Network (RAN) needs to cater to a wide range of use cases and devices, ensuring an optimal user experience for all. With new, intelligent network applications, which have emerged as a viable solution to tackle this mounting complexity, operators can quickly deploy the necessary functionality to improve the efficiency and flexibility of their networks.

As Open RAN continues to grow globally, the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) plays a pivotal role in enabling flexibility, optimization and innovation. A key component defined by the O-RAN Alliance, the RIC acts as a software-based platform for hosting and managing specialized intelligent network applications.

What are intelligent applications?

Intelligent applications live within the RIC, which is a significant element in the disaggregation of the RAN. The RIC is designed to address specific latency and control requirements and serves as the brain of the Open RAN architecture, responsible for controlling, automating and optimizing RAN functions.

Akin to how app stores on mobile devices enable a flourishing ecosystem of third-party developers, the RIC fosters innovation by exposing APIs that empower software vendors to develop and integrate their applications. This open architecture allows for the automation and optimization of RAN operations at scale while concurrently supporting the efficient introduction of novel services and capabilities.

What can intelligent applications do?

Intelligent applications are essential drivers of the Open RAN ecosystem, unlocking a wide range of use cases. They are able to leverage AI/ML techniques to generate insights from historical data and subscriber information, which can help with predictive maintenance, network planning and quality of experience (QoE) monitoring. In addition, they aid with a variety of optimizations across the network, from enhancing the RAN's spectrum efficiency and performance to providing feedback on network conditions and make recommendations to improve handover decisions, load balancing across cells and adjusting beam patterns.

For example, a Load Balancing Manager (LBM) function monitors traffic and user volume in order to estimate IP throughput to predict and prevent potential congestion situations that could impact user experience. By offloading user devices when congestion is predicted, the LBM allows operators to handle dynamic management without costly and time-intensive human intervention.


Similar to how the app ecosystem revolutionized smartphones into versatile, programmable platforms, the RIC promises to unleash the full potential of intelligent and adaptable Open RAN infrastructure. The RIC and intelligent applications will be crucial in driving innovation, enabling new services, and optimizing network performance. Operators and third-party developers alike are actively collaborating to unlock the full potential of these innovative technologies, shaping the future of wireless networks.

The editorial staff had no role in this post's creation.