Cisco-backed Altiostar launches C-RAN solution

Altiostar unveiled the complete portfolio of its carrier-grade, cloud-based software-intensive radio access (C-RAN) solution with Ethernet fronthaul. The solution is designed to improve the quality of experience, enhance spectral efficiency and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) of LTE access networks, according to a press release.

The company, with backing from Cisco, says the solution doesn't require expensive and hard-to-deploy dark fiber or wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) and can be deployed using readily available standard Ethernet links.

Because of the explosive demand for data-intensive applications and Internet of Things (IoT)-related traffic, operators' ability to keep up with demand is going to be tested. To handle future growth, operators are going to need to deploy a C-RAN with intelligent eNodeBs capable of supporting LTE Advanced features and provide scalable, on-demand compute, memory and I/O bandwidth, according to the company.

"To build such networks, today's base station architecture relies on expensive and hard-to-deploy fiber or WDM," said Ashraf M. Dahod, president and CEO of Altiostar, in the release. "However, we have eliminated the need for fiber or WDM by designing an architecture that uses standard Ethernet to build the cloud RAN. Consequently, our solution enables rapid addition of coverage and capacity with a combination of macro and micro networks, while driving down the total cost of ownership."

Cisco confirmed earlier this year that it was an investor in Altiostar, which at the time was reportedly working on a C-RAN architecture for LTE. Dahod is a former senior vice president and general manager of the Mobile Internet Technology Group at Cisco, which was created after Cisco acquired Starent Networks in 2009. Dahod co-founded Starent Networks in 2000 and served as its president and CEO.

Dahod told Light Reading that Altiostar is in various stages of testing with four operators in the Americas, Asia and Europe. The company employs 200 people, 150 of whom are in India. It also has operations in the UK and beyond, according to Light Reading.

Here's a rundown on Altiostar's network-functions virtualization (NFV) C-RAN solution: It includes macro- and micro-cellular eNodeBs, as well as intelligent remote radio head (iRRH) and intelligent virtualized baseband unit (vBBU) running as virtual network functions (VNFs) that are implemented on common off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and carrier-grade OpenStack and Linux software platforms.

The iRRHs are connected to the vBBU on standard Ethernet over any available medium, including line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight microwave, mmWave, carrier Ethernet, FTTx and fiber or WDM, if available.

Altiostar's solution also includes integrated Application Intelligence features that analyze and adapt user traffic to real-time radio conditions to improve the use of the radio bandwidth and to enhance users' quality of experience.

"Major RAN vendors have been talking about C-RAN and even vRAN for some time now, but none have gone as far as Altiostar has in creating an entire portfolio that is designed to maximize the advantages of these architectures on a large scale," stated Edward Gubbins, senior analyst at Current Analysis, in the release. "Altiostar's potentially disruptive approach could impact networks in multiple ways, from deployment and transport economics to network efficiency and optimization. And the credibility of the company's founding team, combined with the power of its partnership with investor Cisco, make this company a serious contender to watch."

Besides Cisco, Altiostar has received funding from its founders and from Excelestar Ventures.

For  more:
- see the press release
- see this Light Reading article
- see this BostInno story
- see this PCC story

Related articles
C-RAN, distributed architectures bring action to the edge
C-RAN: Plotting next-generation wireless from inside the base station hotel
Cisco confirms it is backing LTE RAN startup Altiostar
Madden: Cloud RAN or small cells?

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