UK-based Vodafone has teamed up with Nokia to trial cloud-based radio access network (Cloud RAN) technology to evolve its current 4G network towards 5G. Vodafone also aims to leverage the cloud RAN technology to provide a platform for widespread IoT deployments.
The trial, which took place at Vodafone's testing facility in Italy, used the Nokia Cloud RAN platform to evaluate the performance of centralized RAN architecture, measuring peak data rates as well as download and upload speeds in a range of scenarios on the macro network, containing high power macro cellular base stations.
Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN platform runs on the AirFrame Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) infrastructure and splitting baseband processing functionality between real-time and non real-time functions. Nokia AirScale Cloud Base Station Server is a virtual base station running LTE technology. Nokia AirFrame NFV platform is designed to meet stringent radio access capacity, performance and latency requirements powered by Nokia real-time cloud infrastructure software.
According to Nokia, the trial found that the Nokia Cloud RAN achieved all of Vodafone's key performance criteria for throughput, capacity and resiliency, demonstrating that a cloud-based RAN architecture can provide the same level of high-quality service provided by a conventional LTE network, but with the added scalability, flexibility and efficiency delivered by cloud technology.
Nokia and Vodafone will continue to collaborate on this project with the aim of deploying the technology commercially.