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RAN Intelligent Controller – the innovation engine in O-RAN

Ashish Yadav
14 June 2023

As the innovation engine of O-RAN, the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) enables intelligence and pushes limits with xApps and rApps.

RIC can collate data and decisions from multiple sites and provide insights to Mac, allowing Mac to make better decisions about resource allocations. This has resulted in increased efficiency in network usage by minimizing interference.

In a more formal definition, RIC is an essential 5G network architecture element responsible for facilitating network intelligence, flexibility, and optimization. Separating control plane functions from the base station hardware and centralizing them in a software-defined and cloud-native environment greatly enhances the Radio Access Network (RAN) capabilities.

RIC addresses several challenges of deploying and operating 5G networks.

Network optimization:

5G networks introduce complex requirements such as high data rates, low latency, and massive device connectivity. RIC employs real-time network data collection, analytics, and optimization algorithms to optimize the network dynamically. It can intelligently allocate radio resources, manage interference, and adjust network parameters to ensure efficient resource utilization and optimal network performance.

Vodafone, Capgemini, VMware, Intel, TIP (Telecom Infra Project) ran a trial with the Cohere RIC xApp to improve the spectral efficiency of the network with the Cohere xApp running on VMware RIC. The xApp increased spectral efficiency by 2x.

More details about the trial are available here.

Intelligent traffic steering

Efficient traffic steering has long been a challenge in wireless networks, and 3GPP and other organizations have proposed numerous solutions. The key challenge is that typical traffic steering schemes use the radio conditions of a cell by treating all users of that cell in the same way. Hence, these schemes can only adjust cell priorities and handover thresholds. The O-RAN-based RIC application can handle traffic steering by adopting UE-centric strategies and ensuring proactive optimization by predicting network conditions and allowing MNOs to specify different objectives for traffic management depending on the scenario. It can then flexibly configure optimization policies.

The Capgemini traffic steering xApp was developed by adopting the ORAN-based approach of UE-centric strategies. A trial of the xApp conducted with Viavi RIC Test in ORAN Plugfest showed that Capgemini’s Traffic Steering xApp, running on the Capgemini RIC, could significantly improve the UE throughput by optimally re-selecting the appropriate cell for UE handover. 

Interoperability and open interfaces:

Traditionally, RAN solutions have been proprietary and vendor-specific, leading to limited interoperability and vendor lock-in. The RIC architecture promotes an open ecosystem through standardized interfaces, such as the E2 interface, O1 Interface, etc., which ORAN specifications define. This enables multi-vendor interoperability, allowing operators to mix and match components from different vendors. The RIC, combined with SMO, acts as a control and management layer, abstracting the underlying hardware and facilitating seamless integration of diverse RAN elements.

Flexibility and scalability:

As a software-defined component, the RIC adds flexibility and scalability to the RAN. It allows operators to create virtual network instances tailored to specific applications or user groups through dynamic network slicing. By managing resources centrally and orchestrating them dynamically, the RIC helps efficiently allocate network capacity based on demand, ensuring scalability and adaptability.

Capgemini participated in the O-RAN Global Plugfest Fall 2022 in Europe hosted by Deutsche Telekom, EANTC, EURECOM, Orange, TIM, Vodafone, BT, and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) which focused on:

  • Conformance testing of open fronthaul interface of O-RU and O-DU
  • End-to-end multi-vendor integration with functional and performance testing
  • xApps/rApps integration with near/non-RT RICs and xApps/rApps functional verification
  • O-Cloud platform performance testing.

More details here.

These trials, together with Plugfest, pave the way for accepting RIC as an essential part of the RAN optimization journey.

Energy efficiency and saving operational costs:

Operators have to meet stringent energy efficiency goals by 2030. RIC xApps and rApps are developing innovative solutions that help reduce energy bills. Capgemini’s energy-efficiency rApp/xApp is being deployed under trial in an operator-live network in Europe, and it has already shown more than 10% savings in energy. The xApp brings us closer to reaching the EU green earth goals and, in the process, also saves operational costs for the operators who spend billions of dollars every year on energy bills.

Network slicing management and edge orchestration:

Network slicing is a fundamental concept in 5G that enables the creation of virtual network instances with tailored characteristics. The RIC applications (xApp/rApp) act as key components in managing network slicing by orchestrating the allocation of resources, enforcing service-level agreements, and dynamically adjusting network parameters. This enables operators to offer differentiated services, allocate resources on demand, and support diverse use cases while ensuring isolation and quality of service.

More details here.

Enabling automation and self-healing:

As 5G networks become more complex, automation is essential for efficient operations. RIC utilizes advanced analytics, machine learning, and AI techniques to automate network optimization, resource management, and fault detection. It can detect network anomalies, proactively address issues, and even self-heal by dynamically reconfiguring the network to ensure continuous service availability and quality.


The RAN Intelligent Controller has the capability to tackle a range of challenges and bolster 5G networks by delivering the necessary intelligence, flexibility, and management capabilities. It can optimize network performance, facilitate diverse services, promote multi-vendor interoperability, and automate network opera.

TelcoInsights is a series of posts about the latest trends and opportunities in the telecommunications industry – powered by a community of global industry experts and thought leaders.


UE – User Equipment
SMO – Service Management and Orchestration
Mac – Sublayer of 5G that maps information between logical and transport channels. RLC layer from above and PHY layer from below.


Ashish Yadav

Head of Strategic Partnerships and Technical Product Management, Software Frameworks & Solutions, Capgemini Engineering
Ashish Yadav is a leader with more than 20 years of engineering experience, managing strategic partnerships for start-ups and Fortune 500 global technology companies. In her current role, she is responsible for global strategic partnership alliances and technical product marketing for the Software Frameworks & Solutions portfolio at Capgemini. This group is responsible for building innovative offerings in the area of 5G, networking, cloud/Edge and the automotive sector.