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First fully in-cloud RAN live trial reveals the future

Midsummer is a big deal in the Nordics. The sun never sets, allowing us to enjoy constant daylight to celebrate summer and light. Midsummer is also a good time to revisit recent achievements and prepare for what’s to come.

One such milestone was our live Cloud RAN trial with US giant Verizon, which achieved the world’s first over-the-air data session in a fully virtualized RAN trial environment with Nokia and Intel. With the trial’s success, 5G is tangibly closer.

The trial used our AirScale all-in-cloud base station. This makes real-time baseband processing virtual. You can run it in the cloud at the far edge of the network, close to the radio. Nokia’s AirFrame Open Edge platform has been specifically designed for the far edge.

Intel provided the Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor-based platforms.

AirScale all-in-cloud base station, for both 4G and 5G, puts baseband processing power at the far edge to meet extreme latency requirements, combined with the ability to scale up as needed to meet changing demand. It will provide the flexibility needed for future services and requirements for 5G, IoT, low latency services and end-to-end network slicing.

“Nokia maintains vRAN thought leadership among major RAN vendors.” 
Ed Gubbins, Senior Analyst, Telecom Technology & Software – GlobalData 

Why is this achievement important?

Adam Koeppe, Senior Vice President of Network Planning at Verizon, emphasized the trial’s importance: “Having virtualized the core of the network last year, this significant step forward in virtualizing the RAN edge is a critical piece of providing the next generation of wireless solutions for consumers and enterprises. With a virtualized baseband unit, we will lay the foundation to be able to move computing functionality to the edge of the network and will be able to rapidly respond to customers’ varied latency and computing needs.”

On LinkedIn, Michael Clever, our Head of Cloud RAN, points out that while 5G brings tremendous new capabilities, network complexity continues to grow. Data traffic volume is exploding. New services come and go more quickly. Customers expect ever higher quality of service. This is where new technologies, and Cloud RAN, come into play: “We need scalability, simplicity and easy to manage and operate systems that automatically scale and optimize themselves where there is demand.” says Clever.

Trial

Verizon made the first over over-the-air data session in a trial environment in California with Nokia´s new all-in-cloud RAN architecture, achieving full virtualization of baseband functions

AirScale all-in-cloud base station is part of the wider Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN, which offers a flexible mix of local and cloud-based processing. AirScale Cloud base station can run functions centrally in the cloud or locally at base station sites, while AirScale all-in-cloud base station gets you closer to full on-cloud operations. Which option you choose largely comes down to latency, the needs in a given area, as well as the application’s needs.

With the huge potential of 5G to service billions of IoT devices and the fourth industrial revolution, as well as entirely new industries making use of masses of data, a cloud-based RAN is the key.

Airscale

Watch Anna-Kaarina Pietilä and Hannu Nikurautio, our head of Cloud RAN product management, discuss AirScale All-in-Cloud solution and how Cloud RAN supports innovative ultra-low latency services

Further reading:

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #5G, #cloud, #4G, #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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