Mobile traffic volumes are expected to increase exponentially through 2020 and beyond. The evolution of LTE to LTE-Advanced and 5G will increasingly demand higher capacity and lower latency capabilities from operators’ networks where tight coordination is key for efficient spectrum utilization. Operators face the most challenges to meet these requirements in metropolitan and dense urban areas, where footprint is critical and therefore new alternative network architectures are needed with high spectral efficiency at a lower cost.
Centralized RAN (C-RAN) can address these barriers by reducing the footprint and power/cooling requirements at the cell sites reducing OpEx and CapEx and in the meantime offering tight coordination which is key for advanced radio features to build high performing mobile networks.
In C-RAN deployments the radios are connected to centralized baseband in the baseband hotel using the Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) protocol.
The network in “front” of the baseband is called fronthaul. The CPRI protocol is a high capacity 2.5G-10Gbps link with very tight latency requirements. The goal of fronthaul is to provide the most cost efficient network while meeting the most stringent radio requirements.
C-RAN architectures are best suited for hi-density cities where hi-capacity with the best spectral efficiency is crucial, since high subscriber density results in short inter-site distances which reduces the fiber costs.
The Ericsson Fronthaul 6080 family provides the managed WDM networking solution for fronthaul transport of Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI), Open Base Station Architecture Initiative (OBSAI) and Ethernet from the radio Baseband Unit (BBU), such as the Ericsson RBS 6000, to Remote Radio Units (RRU), Ericsson Integrated Antenna & Radio Units (AIR) and the Ericsson Radio DOT System.