Architecture and Deployment Scenarios of vRAN in 5G Era

May 8, 2018

Service requirements for 5G make flexibility in network architecture an imperative requirement. In contrast to previous generations, 5G targets applications beyond personal mobile broadband services to include services in different industry verticals. The broad scope of applications leads to contradictory requirements which mandate a flexible network architecture.

To achieve this flexibility, 5G disaggregates the network into different functions whose location is best defined by the requirements and economics of the use case. 5G leverages virtualization to implement these functions. The result of this is exposing the fronthaul, the connection between these functions, as the bond that holds the radio access network (RAN) together.

Fronthaul in the 5G era takes on a critical role in enabling different deployment scenarios. In this white paper, we highlight the requirements for fronthaul in modern networks and describe different use cases that illustrate how fronthaul is used to achieve flexibility in the wireless access network to achieve functional and economic requirements.