Skip to main content

AirScale Cloud RAN

Meet your every radio need with scalability, business agility and operational efficiency

Start your transition to a cloud-based radio network 

An open and programmable Radio Access Network (RAN) enables the introduction of new capabilities for the use of 5G networks. Together with virtualization and network automation, it is expected to result in significant improvements in the way Communications Service Providers (CSPs) manage their networks and deliver new services. Furthermore, it fosters innovation by supporting the introduction of advanced capabilities such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). 

Open and programmable RAN promises benefits such as 

- improved network performance

- accelerated time-to market of new services and functions

- more flexible and agile networks

- CAPEX and OPEX efficiencies.

Cloud RAN provides the flexibility to scale capacity at will, as well as launch and monetize services quickly and meet the required latency. Cloud RAN virtualizes baseband and decouples hardware and software, for them to have independent lifecycles. 

In a fully cloudified Cloud RAN solution both the real-time and non-real-time baseband is virtualized and split into two separated functions: 

- the virtualized Distributed Unit (vDU) 

- the virtualized Centralized Unit (vCU). 

Edge cloud for 5G

At Nokia we are leading the transition into an emerging new way of building mobile networks

Cloud RAN

Unlock revenue from new low latency 5G services

It is truly prime time for Cloud RAN, which is emerging as the key technology that will enable CSPs get 5G right. As 5G gathers pace, network capabilities and performance demands are increasing. For CSPs to capture business opportunities with new services and technologies, such as immersive services, they need scalability, low latency, high performance and capacity in addition to new operational models.


“The prime time for Cloud RAN is now”

Phil Marshall/Chief Research Officer, Tolaga Research and Topio Networks


Clearing the path for 5G Cloud RAN 2020

Hear Antti Romppanen, Head of 5G Cloud RAN solution R&D and Phil Marshall, Chief Research Office of Tolaga Research and Topio Networks as they discuss the drivers and benefits of fully cloudified and disaggregated radio networks

Move to Cloud RAN with a commercially proven solution

World´s first commercial cloud-based 5G RAN

Nokia´s first generation 5G AirScale Cloud RAN vRAN1.0, with virtualized Centralized Unit has been deployed and is carrying commercial traffic since mid-2019 in a large scale deployment, representing the world´s first commercial cloud-based 5G RAN.    

Nokia´s AirScale Cloud RAN vRAN2.0, with both virtualized Centralized Unit and virtualized Distributed Unit, is in trials with commercial deployments planned in 2021.

A giant leap for 5G Cloud RAN

With the world celebrating the first moon landing this summer, we at Nokia are marking our own historic event - the world's first commercially deployed cloud...

Implement a fully cloudified and disaggregated solution

The AirScale Cloud RAN vRAN2.0 is a fully cloudified and disaggregated 5G base station with a Distributed Unit (DU) running on General Purpose Processor (x86)-based computing with hardware acceleration in Layer 1 (L1).  The next generation AirScale Cloud RAN solution provides scalability, low latency, high performance and capacity, as well as several network architecture options, to meet the ever-increasing market demands. It also enables advanced capabilities including flexible end-to-end network slicing, massive IoT, and brings the overall benefits of cloud computing to the RAN.


Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN vRAN2.0 with both virtualized Centralized Unit (vCU for non-real-time L2 and L3) and virtualized Distributed Unit (vDU for L1 and real-time L2 computing).

Reduce TCO  

Drive simplification, automation and operational efficiency gains:

  • Fast deployment of services: A fully virtualized 5G base station enables both the virtualized distributed unit (DU) and centralized unit (CU) to run on a general purpose processor platform. New software and services can be introduced more quickly and more easily because service code doesn’t need adapting for proprietary hardware. Time savings mean cost savings.
  • High hardware utilization:  Pooled software enables more cells to be processed on the same data center servers. This more efficient use of processing power allows hardware to be dimensioned according to average traffic loads. The cost of over-dimensioning to meet peak load is simply eliminated.
  • Multi-tenancy resources.: The same physical servers can host different applications and services. Cost savings are achieved by using spare general-purpose compute resources for applications other than RAN.
  • Lower operational costs: Centralizing baseband functions in the data center reduces the need for radio site visits, cuts the number of hardware platforms needed, consolidates installation and maintenance processes, and lowers radio site leasing costs.
  • Greater automation: Open interfaces allow integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms, enabling the network to automatically optimize itself to meet unpredictable demand in mere minutes or even seconds.

Meet the specific needs of different services

Cloud RAN is the foundation for flexible and dynamic end-to-end network slicing, from RAN across transport to Core. The AirScale Cloud RAN solution offers flexible selection of RAN slices for different use cases and enables independently scalable control and user plane functions, slice isolation and high availability. To optimize things further, the latency  critical slices are processed close to the end user, in the far edge, while other services can be processed in a more centralized location, in the aggregated edge, achieving network efficiency through capacity pooling.

Choose the solution with ultimate deployment flexibility

The 5G AirScale Cloud RAN solution supports all architecture options, offering mobile and converged operators with many options when it comes to RAN deployments: vDU and vCU co-located at a central or regional edge cloud; vDU decentralized to an edge or far edge cloud, vDU located even at the cell site. Such ultimate flexibility is very important due to varying topologies and transport network needs even within the same network. 

Reuse your existing network assets

Nokia’s 5G AirScale Cloud RAN solution is specifically designed to reuse existing network assets. Nokia’s open Fronthaul Gateway solution offers an evolution path for operators to upgrade existing CPRI-based radios to eCPRI-based AirScale 5G Cloud RAN. It can run as a standalone unit or fully integrated with the vDU on an edge optimized Nokia AirFrame Open Edge Server, which is the first x86-based product in the world built and tailored for edge cloud and far edge cloud deployments (indoor/outdoor) of Cloud RAN.

Architected for Open RAN

Nokia 5G AirScale Cloud RAN has been architected for Open RAN (O-RAN), splitting the base station into Radio Unit (RU), Distributed Unit (DU), Radio Access Point (RAP, a combination of RU and DU), Centralized Unit (CU), and O-RAN compliant interfaces between these elements.  

Take advantage of AI and ML

We can also run on the same edge platform with Cloud RAN the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) which is a new virtualized 5G optimization technology adding RAN programmability to existing or new RAN to take advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) capabilities to optimize the radio and system performance.


Ready to talk?