DOST-ASTI and AORA successfully holds first joint Open RAN and Open Networks event

31 Jul 2023 3:34 PM

Participants and facilitators pose for a post-event photo.

The Department of Science and Technology – Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) and the Asia Open RAN Academy (AORA) successfully concluded their two-day joint event on 20-21 July 2023 at Novotel Manila, Quezon City.

The activity aimed to bring together industry experts, thought leaders, and ICT and network professionals to engage in insightful discussions and exchange ideas on the future of connectivity with open radio access networks (RAN) and open networks.

DOST-ASTI Director Franz A. de Leon welcomed everyone to the event by acknowledging the founding partners from the academia, public and private sectors, professional associations, and international stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region that envisioned and co-created the Academy.

DOST-ASTI Dir. Franz A. de Leon giving his welcome remarks.

He also commended the Academy for its achievements since its inception more than a year ago, “True to the principles from which it was created, since the Academy’s virtual launch on June 29, 2022, it has made considerable strides in the promotion and advocacy of Open RAN concepts, standards, and solutions, primarily by focusing on course development and capacity building, which are building blocks of workforce development.”

At the panel forum on the first day of the activity, DOST-ASTI experts in the fields of campus and community networks and disaster mitigation and management shared examples of use cases in how Open RAN opportunities will address connectivity issues in their respective disciplines.

Panelists Sr. SRS Philip Martinez and SRS II Ramon Van Cleff Raro during the “Campus and Community Networks” panel forum session moderated by Sup. SRS Bayani Benjamin Lara.

Philip A. Martinez, Senior Science Research Specialist and Technical Lead of DOST-ASTI’s Resilient Education Information Infrastructure for the New Normal (REIINN) project, expressed that Open RAN can contribute to the sustainability and growth of community networks by promoting lower costs, innovation and collaboration, and scalability and interconnection, specifically addressing the capital outlay needed in setting up connectivity in rural areas.

The V2X Initiatives for Road Safety (VIROS) project was also featured in the panel forum, represented by Ramon Vann Cleff B. Raro, Science Research Specialist II and Technical Lead of the project. He stated that, “Open RAN promises open interfaces that makes it easier to integrate components that will meet specific needs for V2X applications. This flexibility appears to be an enabler of V2X communication orchestration.”

DOST-ASTI’s DRRM initiatives were also placed in the spotlight. Alvin E. Retamar, Chief Science Research Specialist of the Institute’s Solutions and Services Engineering Division, talked about the potential of setting up of open network architecture in far-flung areas with little to no internet connectivity.

Chief SRS Alvin E. Retamar answering a question during the “Disaster Mitigation and Management” panel forum session moderated by Sr. SRS Jelina Tanya H. Tetangco.

He conveyed that, “Since the PhilSensors are located in remote areas, Open RAN can support putting up infrastructure that opens up the opportunity for telecommunication companies to move into these places where there are currently no service available. With the openness of Open RAN, we are essentially removing a barricade/barrier for R&D to flourish.”

The event will be one of DOST-ASTI’s and AORA’s many collaborations after they sealed their partnership through an MOU on 29 June 2023.
AORA, a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded initiative that is based in the Philippines but with a scope that covers the Indo-Pacific Region, is an alliance of academic, government, professional organizations, and industry stakeholders. AORA aims to build the workforce capacity needed to advance an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet to enable a vibrant digital economy through the promotion, advocacy, and deployment of Open Radio Access Network (RAN) standards and solutions, which will lead to increased cooperation, competition, and choice.

DOST-ASTI carries out applied R&D through testbed setups, proof-of-concepts, benchmarking activities, prototype development, alternative/low-cost and open-source technology solutions, and deployment of these products and solutions in the fields of advanced and high-speed networks, high-performance computing, cloud computing, wireless networks and technologies, and mobile technology, among others.