Cloud-RAN: Helping Operators Address the Exploding Mobile Connectivity Needs in Urban Areas While Increasing Network Efficiency
As part of our series of blogs with Small Cell Forum Members who are supporting the Small Cell Zone and Mobile World Congress 2015, Renuka Bhalerao of Radisys has written this blog.
By Renuka Bhalerao
With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets and the shift toward on-the-go connectivity, mobile operators face unprecedented pressure to increase capacity and coverage. This is particularly true in urban areas, which produce highly-concentrated network demand. In large cities and event arenas – which can mimic the population densities of cities – millions of people within close proximity utilize the same connectivity resources. They might use network bandwidth to access directions on-the-go, download music or stream a video. This creates bandwidth challenges for operators as they seek to provide better coordination among base stations, reduce power consumption and efficiently address exploding mobile connectivity needs.
And, as the use of tablets and smartphones increases, data consumption continues to soar. At the 2014 Super Bowl in New York City, Small Cell Forum estimates that game-goers uploaded 1.8 million social media posts (with photos). That’s an increase of about 350 percent over the 500,000 uploads at the Super Bowl in Dallas in 2011. A 2014 Small Cell Forum survey of top-tier operators found that the top three drivers of deploying urban small cells are: overall capacity increase, supporting new revenue streams and filling in capacity holes.
Radisys has been a long-time proponent of small cells with more than 60 LTE small cells wins. At the same time, the growing importance of NFV architectures is providing a new approach for operators to maximize their resources and improve network efficiency. These two activities have come together as the foundation for Radisys’ Cloud RAN offering.
C-RAN is a sought-after solution because it accomplishes the following:
- Gives operators the benefits of virtualization, which is crucial as they face growing capacity and coverage issues
- Reduces power consumption and increases the utilization rate of processing resources
- Allows better coordination among base stations, while also bringing processing advantages to take up the LTE-Advanced functionality
- Adds to the capacity and coverage benefits already provided by increased HetNet deployments
- Supports coordinated Self-Organizing Network (SON) strategies
- Combines two key approaches – centralization and virtualization – which are applicable to various functions in the RAN
When it comes to implementing C-RAN, operators have various implementation options to choose from. The extent of centralization varies with each, and each comes with its own set of pros and cons. Some operators centralize all of the subgroups in the C-RAN architecture, while others choose to centralize only the L3 network layer.
Radisys has developed a carrier-grade, application-ready C-RAN platform that is specially designed to maximize the speed of network functions running in a virtualized environment. Mobile operators that deploy a C-RAN-ready platform can accelerate their cloud deployments and realize the benefits of virtualized network functions.
I’ll be sharing more details on how Radisys is supporting the Cloud RAN evolution in my talk at the Small Cell Forum booth on Monday, March 2 at 1pm. I hope to see you there.