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OpenRan’s 2nd mile

Considerations for an efficient 5G Fronthaul

According to GSMA, 4G accounted for 52% of mobile connections in 2019 and will increase to 56% by 2025; meanwhile, 5G will roughly take 20% share.

Unlike the moderate pace in the access side, RAN (Radio Access Network) architecture migration is accelerating and driven by a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) benefit. In general, 65% total cost of ownership of a network is in the RAN. RANs are rapidly migrating (or have already migrated) from D-RAN (Distributed RAN) architecture to the C-RAN (Centralized RAN) architecture. The OpenRAN initiative promises to fuel innovation and growth by the transformation from closed elements/protocols to open, plug-and-play, fully interoperable elements using standardized protocols.

In this paper, we examine a crucial element of the RAN which is not currently addressed by the OpenRAN standardization efforts – the fronthaul network. Current OpenRAN definitions mention and standardize the fronthaul interface between the radio and Base Band Unit (BBU) but do not address the fronthaul network in detail, especially the various brownfield and converged network scenarios which every operator must deal with. We bring out the need to consider efficient fronthaul solutions to mitigate specific challenges in RAN evolution.

Capgemini Engineering and UfiSpace are collaborating to bring the right solutions to address these challenges by using open, dis-aggregated, modular and programmable components to support Open RAN (O-RAN) initiatives to fuel initiative and hasten RAN evolutions for 5G deployments.

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