Vodafone has been having a look at Nokia’s Cloud RAN architecture, specifically in the context of switching between 4G, 5G and IoT.
The trails took place at Vodafone’s testing facility in Italy and examined the use of cloud-based radio access technology for macro networks. A major reason, over and above the usual efficiency/agility ones, to move RANs to the cloud is the hybrid nature of future networks, with 4G expected to coexist with both new 5G air interfaces and LPWANs for IoT.
Splitting baseband processing functionality between real-time and non real-time functions is the name of the game, apparently, because that allows the most time sensitive functions to be performed at the edge of the network, while others are virtualized and run in the cloud, allowing all the expected cloudy goodness.
“Working with Nokia on this trial we have seen how the application of Cloud RAN architecture can help the network react to changing demands quickly,” said Santiago Tenorio, Head of Networks at Vodafone Group. “It speeds up the delivery of services and will help with the transition to 5G.”
“Our Cloud RAN technology can help operators optimize network performance even as they cope with the increasing demands being placed upon them,” said Roberto Loiola, Head of Vodafone Global Customer Business Team at Nokia. “This trial with Vodafone builds on this promise, enabling Nokia to apply its longstanding working relationship with them to explore how we can enable the smooth and efficient transition from 4G to 5G.”
Of the current frenzy of 5G testing quite a lot of it seems to be happening in Europe. Telefónica recently announced a 5G PoC with Huawei and last week dabbled in a spot of Pre5G massive MIMO live testing with ZTE. Meanwhile Huawei and BT have renewed their vows and Ericsson reckons most operators are already having a go at 5G.