Growth in Open RAN System

Ever since 5G brought the mobile economics thriving business opportunities and accelerated the data traffic volume, new services and applications have emerged, like how Uber and TikTok became day-to-day necessities after the LTE adoption. Mobile network operators (MNOs) now face even harder technical challenges of delivering quality cellular services to myriads of handheld devices and computers. Since their highly specialized radio access and tightly-integrated proprietary software on networking equipment have contributed to the limited flexibility and constrained legacy vendor resources, operators are prompted to embrace more efficient and faster-to-deploy alternatives that can reduce CapEx and OpEx.

More open, software-based

Having set their sights on the automated and cost-saving software-based technology option, many smart operators have embarked on the journey to the radio access network (RAN). Although the Open RAN market is still in its early age and started relatively slowly, it is expected that, by 2021, over 100 macro radios will become available and Open RAN deployments will double because more and more operators are looking to modernize their networks with this technology. Apparently, it won’t take long to see this technology reach fully maturity in less than three years, for not only is the expensive deployment cost driving the Open RAN adoption, but the software-centric nature of its design that applies to all Gs (2G,3G, 4G, 5G, and future Gs) perfectly aligns with the operator’s needs. Moreover, to even further performance capabilities for an Open RAN deployment, certain radio partners are now working with chip developers to integrate the software with high-performance chips.

Deploy Open RAN in your Network

As this open and virtualized RAN technology provides MNOs with the potential to reduce costs, flexible approaches in architecting their RANs and wider vendor choices as they adopt 5G, you wouldn’t want to be excluded from this race. Before starting planning your own Open RAN deployment, the first thing is to thoroughly understand your current network topology. Take inventory of your existing network and try imaging what the new RAN will look like based on the most critical factors – transport and location. Location-related costs are mainly on capex items such as physical assets, deployment, set-up fees, to opex aspects like maintenance and power. Transport-related costs may cost even dearly as the fronthaul (FH) demands increase the total cost of ownership (TCO) in a centralized infrastructure. In sum, the tradeoff between transport, CU/DU location is going to determine how your deployment model will maximize the balance between cost and performance. Here are three architectures that have been used to deploy Open RAN:

  • Distributed Model: DUs and RUs are located at the cell sites, with MH connecting DUs to the CU.
  • Partially Centralized Model: DUs are located in remote sites with CU in a centralized location, FH connecting RUs to DUs, and MH connecting DUs to the CU.
  • Centralized Model: CU and DUs are all centralized in the same location, with FH connecting RUs to the CU/DUs.

The Lanner HTCA-6200 is the ideal carrier-grade MEC appliance for the Centralized Units (CU). Equipped with the Lanner HLM-1100 switch blade that supports carrier-grade IEEE 1588 PTPv2, HTCA-6200 can achieve a high degree of time synchronization for mission-critical applications deployed in Radio Access Networks, 5G Edge Clouds, and Core Network Data Centers.

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