NEC develops RAN autonomous optimisation tech

16th February 2024
Harry Fowle

NEC has developed a RAN autonomous optimisation technology that dynamically controls 5G Radio Access Networks (RAN) according to the status of each user terminal, dramatically improving the productivity of applications, such as the remote control of robots and vehicles. NEC will incorporate the technology into RAN Intelligent Controllers (RIC) and conduct demonstration tests using this technology by March 2025.


There is growing momentum to promote digital transformation (DX) by utilising the latest technologies such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) with the aim of resolving labor shortages and improving productivity. When using these technologies for remote control of robots and vehicles, two-way communication consisting of status monitoring and control instructions for each robot/vehicle must be completed within a certain period of time. However, if the communication latency exceeds the requirement, the operation is repeatedly suspended for safety reasons, resulting in a decrease in the operation rate and productivity. The communication delays, such as retransmission delays due to poor radio quality and queuing delays* due to congestion on the radio links, have been a barrier to the introduction of remote control systems. Currently, stable communications environments have been achieved by installing high performance network equipment, providing sufficient frequency resources, increasing redundancy in coding and communication paths, and pre-configuration of RAN parameters according to the application. However, with these methods, it is difficult to widely support applications that are diversifying with the advancement of DX, and the time and cost required for implementation is also an issue.

About the RAN autonomous optimisation technology

The RAN autonomous optimisation technology developed by NEC consists of AI that analyses communication requirements and radio quality fluctuations on a per-user terminal basis, such as robots and vehicles, and AI that dynamically controls RAN parameters on a per-user terminal basis based on the results of that analysis. This AI learns from past operational records of robots and vehicles, and optimally controls RAN parameters such as modulation and coding scheme (target block error rate), radio resource allocation (resource block ratio), and maximum allowable delay (delay budget) while predicting the probability of exceeding communication latency requirements. Whereas in a typical 5G network, RAN parameters are fixed and set for the entire network, this technology dynamically controls them on a per-user terminal basis to improve application productivity. Technology features are as follows:

  • Flexible support for a variety of applications - RAN parameters can be dynamically controlled according to the communication requirements of applications, enabling overall optimisation even in environments where diverse applications are mixed.
  • O-RAN Alliance-compliant and easy to deploy - Since it can be mounted on RIC that are compliant with O-RAN Alliance standard specifications, it is easy to install or add to existing facilities.
  • Dramatic productivity gains are possible at industrial sites - Simulation results of applying this technology to a system that remotely controls multiple autonomous robots operating in factories or warehouses confirmed that the number of robot stoppages can be reduced by 98% or more compared to cases where this technology is not used.

Future developments

NEC plans to incorporate the technology into RIC platforms compliant with the O-RAN Alliance standard specifications and conduct demonstration tests using this technology by March 2025. NEC will exhibit this technology at MWC Barcelona 2024, the world's largest mobile exhibition, which will be held from February 26 to February 29, 2024 at Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain.

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