Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) will be showing off its Cloud RAN (C-RAN) in a live demo at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, with plans to conduct operator field trials this year with an unnamed operator.
Ericsson says its C-RAN portfolio addresses a diverse set of requirements from mobile operators, with options for distributed and centralized RAN deployments, as well as new Elastic RAN and Virtualized RAN solutions.
While in Barcelona, Ericsson will feature radio access functionality virtualized on remote servers located in Sweden, including virtual instances of the Radio Resource Control Function (RRCF) and Packet Data Conversion Protocol (PDCP) function. Ericsson is also showcasing its end-to-end role in NFV, including virtual EPC gateway functionality for local breakout of specific services or devices.
"Working with leading operators around the world, Ericsson understands that there is no one-size-fits-all mobile access architecture that can address the diversity of operator requirements for coverage, capacity and network optimization and evolution," said Arun Bansal, senior vice president and head of Business Unit Radio at Ericsson, in a release. "Ericsson Cloud RAN provides operators with the flexibility to centralize, distribute, scale and virtualize their radio access network functions to efficiently meet their performance requirements today and as they evolve to 5G."
A smaller competitor, SpiderCloud Wireless recently revealed it is working with Verizon (NYSE: VZ) to trial its LTE-U system in the third quarter of 2016, but its current LTE product that it has deployed through Verizon can be looked at as cloud RAN. In fact, most of the carriers the company talks to look at it that way, according to Amit Jain, vice president of marketing and product management at SpiderCloud.
The basic concept of cloud RAN is about how to split the base station functionality between what goes on the radio head and what goes into a centralized unit. In SpiderCloud's architecture, it runs Layer 1 and Layer 2 functionality in the radio node, while decentralizing the Layer 3 functionality.
"By doing that, we are able to offer better mobility management, we can manage interference much better," he told FierceWirelessTech. "We strongly believe that our cloud RAN approach is a much better approach than the centralized RAN approach that the big vendors have proposed in the past."
In the past, Cloud RAN and Centralized RAN meant the same thing, but the industry's thinking has evolved and today, cloud RAN is about splitting the base station functionality between the radio head and central unit in a way that maximizes performance while minimizing cost, Jain said.
SpiderCloud reveals it will use LTE tech from Qualcomm in LTE-U
DoCoMo completes outdoor Advanced-C-RAN verification
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