Aricent, Benetel, Phluido, and Tech Mahindra are co-creating a Virtualized LTE RAN Reference solution under the guidance of CableLabs. The reference solution is intended to provide 4G mobile radio access network (RAN) services over existing cable networks. The project is being conducted under the auspices of the Telecom Infra Project, an Open Source Telecom hardware and software consortium established by Facebook.
The reference solution relies on a functional split known as 3GPP Option 7-x and includes a combination of features including protocols for fronthaul. Enhancements to RAN layer 1 and layer 2 implementations from Phluido and Aricent are intended to allow cable operators to overcome common challenges with DOCSIS, such as latency, jitter, and limited capacity to make it an effective means for fronthaul transport. In this way, cable operators can use RAN virtualization and centralization, while reusing existing DOCSIS network infrastructure as transport.
Aricent is the lead software integrator in the initiative. The reference solution utilizes Aricent LTE RAN software framework based on Cloud-RAN architecture. The solution has LTE layer 3 and layer 2 integrated with Phluido's virtualized layer 1 and Benetel's Remote Radio Unit (RRU). The RRU is designed to support both 4G and 5G networks. Network Equipment Providers (NEPs) can monetize the reference solution supported on General Purpose Processor (GPP) and RRU to provide LTE solutions on today's cable networks and future advancements.
"Some analysts estimate that operators across the world could invest well over $20 billion in virtualizing their networks. The virtualization of the RAN will help operators to scale their networks in line with customer demand and rapidly launch new features," said N. Mohan Rangan, chief engineering officer at Aricent. "Deployed on the cloud, the solution can truly deliver the promise of 4G and 5G."