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China Mobile verifies Cloud RAN benefits to pave the way to 5G

LTE Radio Access Networks (RANs) globally are instantly connecting millions of subscribers and reliably delivering services over wide geographical areas. That’s not a simple achievement given that the RAN is the most technologically demanding area of the mobile communications network.

As we move deeper into the era of the cloud, operators need to run the same functions equally reliably and ensure their networks are ready to evolve quickly to 5G and support a growing variety of traffic requirements while protecting the existing installed base.

From Asia-Pacific to the Americas to Europe, verification projects around the world have been showing that the Cloud RAN is living up to its performance promises.

Live trial in China

One of the latest major trials was completed in China. Nokia and China Mobile worked together on the first live deployment of Cloud RAN centralized and distributed (CU/DU) split architecture in China. The trial’s success further opens broad opportunities for Cloud RAN’s commercial use in the future.

During the month-long trial, all LTE functions performed successfully and the trial verified the high performance metrics and operational capabilities of the technology. In addition, the throughput, latency and service set up success rate of the Cloud RAN was on a par with a traditional hardware-based LTE RAN network and remained stable.

A key aim of the trial was to verify the CU/DU baseband architecture split’s support for time-critical (real-time) applications at the cell site, connected via fronthaul to the operator’s existing network, while non-real-time functions are performed cost-effectively at the data center. The trial demonstrated how this architecture can be effectively deployed to allow smooth transition towards 5G while protecting the existing installed base.

Huang Yuhong, Deputy General Manager of China Mobile Research Institute said: “We are pleased to have completed this important live trial and have fully verified the future commercial use of a Cloud RAN CU/DU split architecture. As technology leaders in Cloud RAN, China Mobile and Nokia have a longstanding commitment to the research, development and application of 5G related technologies. The trial demonstrates the strong capabilities of the Nokia Cloud RAN commercial platform. Going forward, China Mobile will continue to collaborate with industry players such as Nokia to accelerate the commercialization of 5G in China.”

Yu Xiaohan, head of the China Mobile customer team and executive vice-president at Nokia Shanghai Bell said: “With our innovative AirScale Cloud RAN technology, we are working with China Mobile to accelerate 5G commercialization and deliver faster and more reliable network services to its end users. As shown through this trial and others conducted around the world, the Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN platform is ready to be made commercially available, paving the way from 4G to 5G.”

Into the smart IoT era

Based on the trial results, Nokia and China Mobile will continue to work together to verify the strengths of a centralized Cloud RAN architecture, building an integrated application platform that uses numerous new technologies to meet the various demands of the smart IoT era.

The success follows industry recognition of the Nokia Cloud RAN solution, which is based on commercial AirScale and AirFrame platforms, with the GTI Innovative Breakthrough in Mobile Technology Award 2018. In April, the AirFrame data center portfolio was extended with the launch of the Nokia AirFrame open edge server, the industry’s first Edge Cloud data center portfolio, to meet the stringent and diverse low-latency data processing demands of Cloud RAN and advanced applications for consumers and industries.

Find out more how Nokia Cloud RAN can help you take the path to 5G:

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokia and @nokianetworks using #cloudRAN #telcocloud #5G #4G #LTE #cloud #IOT

Anna-Kaarina Pietilä

About Anna-Kaarina Pietilä

Anna-Kaarina Pietilä is responsible for AirScale and AirScale Cloud RAN at Nokia. She enjoys writing blogs about these solutions and about innovative, high-quality software which improve smartphone experience and network capacity. She holds an MA from Åbo Akademi University and University of Turku and is based in Finland.

Tweet me at @annapietil

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