Cloud RAN: An Essential Technology for Driving the Evolution of 5G
Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN) is an innovative architecture that satisfies the growing internet demands and helps in coping up with the speed of emerging 5G technology. Read on to know how C-RAN is playing a vital role in boosting the spread of 5G mobile networks.
With the growing number of mobile internet users, operators such as Telcom and AT&T are under huge pressure for satisfying the growing demands as well as customer needs. However, to satisfy these needs increased number of base station are required—which needs huge capital for their installation and management. Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN) is a pioneering architecture that attempts to cater such needs by integrating the base stations and offering a centralized solution among multiple operators. This novel technology is cost effective, has enhanced energy efficacy and centralized network architecture, and has managed to grab a lot of attention in industry and academia.
What is a C-RAN?
The C-RAN is called as Cloud RAN as well as Centralized RAN. It is a low-cost option for operators with respect to opex and capex. However, this technology is still to undergo several developments in the coming years for more efficient service. As per analysts, the significance of C-RAN in 5G networks is foreseen to pave way for enormous opportunities in the global C-RAN market in the coming future.
Major components of C-RAN Architecture
A C-RAN architecture constitutes of three main components i.e. Remote Radio Unit (RRU) networks, a centralized Baseband Unit (BBU) pool, and transport network or fronthaul.
- Remote Radio Unit (RRU) network —RRU network helps in connecting wireless devices to access points or towers similar to traditional cellular networks.
- Baseband Unit (BBU) pool —BBU pool is installed at a central location and works as a data center or a cloud. Based on current network requirements, its numerous BBU nodes dynamically assign resources to RRUs.
- Fronthaul or transport network — Fronthaul is the layer that connects a BBU with a set of RRUs. This layers provides high-bandwidth links to manage the needs of multiple RRUs.
The revolution of 5G mobile telecommunication industry
Since, the last decade, the mobile telecommunication industry has undergone several alarming changes and is currently exploding to its fullest. With the advent of 5G technology, the mobile telecommunications sector is marching toward 5G networks to reap its benefits to their users. With this, the amount of data traffic traversing networks is also skyrocketing. To cope with this speed and meet the needs of users, network operators has to transform their Radio Access Network (RAN). Which technically means that they should consider centralizing it or placing it in the cloud. As per analysts, the significance of C-RAN in 5G networks is foreseen to pave way for enormous opportunities in the global C-RAN market in the coming future.
A closer look at the benefits of C-RAN
The centralized cloud RAN has the potential to cut down the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and also give a boost to the network performance. Above all, it is highly favorable in low-latency network set-ups. Also, the C-RAN does not essentially needs to recreate the transport network.
Apart from these benefits, C-RAN also offers the potential to reuse infrastructure, pool resources, support multiple technologies, abridge network operations & management, decrease energy usage, and lower costs associated with the capex and opex. With the implementation of this technology, mobile networks can be converted into more heterogeneous and self-organizing structure. Once installed at a centralized site, C-RAN makes it easier and faster to deploy other network and also enhances the productivity of the network.
A C-RAN architecture helps network operators co-execute the functionalities of RAN along with other network operations in a data center environment. This allows operators to offer new services easily and in short duration using the mobile broadband networks. Hence, it it clear that cloud RAN can indeed be a major weapon to achieve advanced scalability and a more agile business.
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