Parallel stages 5G SA pilot with Cellcom in Israel

Parallel Wireless is excited to be introducing full ORAN 7.2 architecture for Cellcom, said to be a first for a telecom operator in Israel.

Cellcom and U.S.-based Parallel Wireless last month announced the launch of their pilot, which features ORAN 7.2 and 5G Standalone (SA) as a new network architecture.

Cellcom announced earlier this year that it plans to establish a cloud-based 5G SA network. Whether Parallel ends up being part of that end game will depend in large part how this pilot goes.

Baruch Navon Parallel Wireless COO
Baruch Navon (Parallel Wireless)

Fierce caught up with Baruch Navon, president and COO at Parallel Wireless, who is based in Israel. He explained that Parallel is providing the entire open Radio Access Network (RAN) solution, both hardware and software, to Cellcom. That includes servers with both centralized and distributed ORAN 7.2 radio units for indoor and outdoor deployments, antennas, RAN intelligent controllers (RIC), management system and support.

As with any first-time deployment, the Parallel team will need to address unknowns in real time, finding solutions without precedents and resolving them fast, Navon said over email.

They will test four phases that are critical in terms of ORAN architecture:

  • Indoor
  • Collocated centralized units (CU), distributed units (DU), and radio units (RU)
  • Remote CU
  • Collocated DU RU and fully remote RU from DU and from CU “to show all the tremendous advantages” of the ORAN cloud computing technology

The Parallel team in Israel was formed in 2018. In 2021, the company expanded its Open RAN Research and Development Center in Israel and started to develop and test 4G and 5G DU and CU software and 2x2 and 4x4 O-RAN Alliance compliant radios.

Navon told Fierce that he and his team hold a highly positive expectation of meeting and exceeding the benchmarks that Cellcom has set forth. Ultimately, they believe that following this pilot, Parallel will expand its partnerships and customer growth with Cellcom and beyond.

“You can imagine that as a company with strong Israeli R&D leadership, having an Israeli operator as a customer would be great,” he said.

The pilot is leveraging off-the-shelf equipment, such as hardware servers. More specifically, the solution uses servers based on the Intel x86 architecture, with radio units based on Partner Communications’ ORAN 7.2 radio.

Network slicing is not included in this phase of the trial but it can be added later on top of the existing infrastructure, according to Navon.