4G to 5G – vRAN and oRAN to the Rescue

April 4, 2018

5G is on the cusp of evolution. Despite confidence from US operators that 5G will be up-and-running this year, a number of challenges still needs to be addressed before these deployments can truly take shape. To ensure 5G’s success, operators need to capitalize on the lessons they learned from previous network rollouts – and there are plenty to be had. The shift from 2G to 3G was a considerable step change in function for the industry. The move from 3G to 4G was more drastic, and 5G will present greater hurdles still.

Each stage of the mobile industry’s evolution until now has been dependent on new infrastructure to soak up heightened data demand and deliver on new use cases, without any real attention being paid to capital expenditure. This is part of the reason why mobile network operators are still looking to recoup their investments with 4G. With 5G networks dependent on new hardware and up-front investment yet again, this is where the story needs to change while this new technology is still on the road to widespread commercial implementation.

Many telecom stakeholders recognize this and have joined forces in trying to make open RAN a reality, including initiatives such as TIP, xRAN and most recently, oRAN. An open RAN vision of a vendor agnostic RAN with standardized interfaces will not only increase flexibility, dramatically reduce network rollout cost but also accelerate innovation in the RAN.

Cracking the nut of interoperability is the first and most important step. Finding a way of translating between fronthaul protocols and network elements is the cornerstone of an open RAN, and is a key hurdle any open RAN initiatives will have to overcome. Ultimately, networks are only as strong as their weakest link. In recent years, we have seen virtualization adopted in the core network to drive scalability, flexibility, and agility. This same type of virtualization is now being expanded into the radio access network (RAN).  However, today’s fronthaul network is still static and hardware-dependent.

A multipoint-to-multipoint fronthaul network, enabled by Dali Wireless SDN Radio Router™ technology, acts like a catalyst that enables operators to truly reap the benefits of an end-to-end virtualized and open RAN. The ability to mix and match RAN elements from any vendors, over any protocol interface provides mobile operators with the utmost flexibility to deliver the board scope of applications with varying requirements in 5G.

Download this whitepaper to learn how Dali SDN Radio Router technology extends the virtualization to the fronthaul to enable a resilient, future-proof fronthaul network that will not only maximize the usage of mobile operators’ existing 2G, 3G and 4G infrastructure, but will serve as the foundation for 5G and network expansion for generations yet to come.