Nokia Networks is unveiling its architecture for ‘highly scalable, flexible and efficient cloud-based radio access networks’ at Mobile World Congress 2015. With Nokia Radio Cloud, processing capacity is allocated from almost anywhere in the network, such as an adjacent cell or a centralised data centre, to where it is needed most for coordination and capacity.
The multi-layer approach supports distributed and centralised deployments, or a combination of both, using multiple fronthaul types, including Ethernet. This utilises an operator's existing radio access and transport asset more efficiently, avoiding incremental costs to build new infrastructure.
The company is further expanding its telco cloud portfolio by launching its Nokia Cloud Security Director, and is announcing the commercial availability of its Nokia Cloud Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and Nokia Cloud Network Director to orchestrate virtualised network functions like EPC and VoLTE.
Security orchestration, reduced operational costs for operators
Operators can manage the entire lifecycle of virtualised security services with the Nokia Cloud Security Director. It features multi-vendor capabilities that allow the operator's security administrator to automatically deploy security policies and functions in cloud and hybrid networks. This saves operational costs and substantial work for operators to manually implement security in these highly dynamic networks.
The telco cloud portfolio extensions at a glance:
- Nokia Radio Cloud is based on an open ecosystem to maximise the use of open source software. It will be commercialised from early 2016 onwards.
- Nokia Cloud EPC delivers better scalability and flexibility to cope with growing traffic demand as well as automation to optimise the use of network resources.
- Nokia Networks will start shipping its Nokia Cloud EPC in Q2/2015, its Nokia Cloud Network Director in Q3/2015 and its Nokia Cloud Security Director in Q4/2015.
- The new components will be shown at the Nokia Experience Center, Hall 3, Stand 3B10.
Gabriel Brown, senior analyst, Heavy Reading, said: "Radio is the next frontier to be explored in the telco cloud domain. Coordinating radio resource management and dynamic capacity allocation offers clear performance advantages. Operators need cloud-based radio solutions that are flexible enough to meet a wide variety of target use-cases and, from an investment perspective, that map to their existing network topologies."
Jin-hyo Park, senior VP and Head of Network Technology R&D Center, SK Telecom, said: "Through 'Cloud vRAN' (Radio Cloud), we expect to see more intelligence implemented in telecommunications networks and innovations in value-centered networks."
He added: "SK Telecom will continue to cooperate closely with global companies like Nokia to develop core technologies for the next generation networks, thereby leading the advancements in 5G networks and the evolution of LTE-A technology."
Henri Tervonen, VP, Mobile Broadband Architecture, Nokia Networks, said: "This is the first radio cloud architecture that offers a layered approach with different deployment models to optimise performance by enabling basic capacity to be built near cell sites, and with peak capacity in the data centre being redirected to follow traffic demand.
“Continuing the evolution from Nokia Single RAN and Nokia Centralised RAN, our Radio Cloud network architecture is a tremendous platform to prepare for upcoming 5G for core and radio."
Nokia pointed out that just 20% of a typical radio access network's total capacity is used at any one time, with 80% idle, waiting for peak hour demand. Nokia Radio Cloud is designed to separate coverage from capacity, so peak hour capacity can be allocated where and when needed, to reduce the need to dimension for peak hours and to make more efficient use of capacity.