Vodafone, Nokia Trial Cloud-based RAN Technology

Vodafone, Nokia Trial Cloud-based RAN Technology Image Credit: Vodafone

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.

Ed Gubbins, Senior Analyst for Mobile Access Infrastructure, Current Analysis
The timely launches of Nokia's AirScale and AirFrame solutions give it an edge in this space, and its proactive moves to develop Multi-access Edge Computing technology - earlier than most rivals - give it added credibility.

Santiago Tenorio, Head of Networks, Vodafone Group
Working with Nokia on this trial we have seen how the application of Cloud RAN architecture can help the network react to changing demands quickly. It speeds up the delivery of services and will help with the transition to 5G.

Ray is a news editor at The Fast Mode, bringing with him more than 10 years of experience in the wireless industry.

For tips and feedback, email Ray at ray.sharma(at)thefastmode.com, or reach him on LinkedIn @raysharma10, Facebook @1RaySharma

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