Huawei revealed its updated strategy on CloudRAN at its Global Analyst Summit 2016 in Shenzhen, China this week (1-13 April) arguing that the technology will transform the radio access network, as well as preparing the ground for 5G.
Huawei noted that current network capabilities cannot fulfil present and future mobile connectivity requirements, meaning that there is a need for long-term co-existence of multiple technologies, new services, and business models which will drive an evolution of the network architecture.
The company believes there are three elements to this. First, the network architecture needs to become increasingly unified to support the long term carrying of diverse access technologies, such as 3G, 4G, 4.5G and 5G. This unification will also include the coexistence of these technologies, side by side with radio technologies in unlicensed spectrum, such as Wi-Fi.
Second, this unified network architecture is required to support an array of services with different performance requirements on data rate, connectivity, and latency in the mobile network.
Third, fast and flexible capacity expansion on this unified network architecture is required for new business models to achieve a fast delivery for different end users. Huawei’s answer to this is its CloudRAN solution.
"During the next five years the wireless industry will experience a change in basic inter-connectivity capabilities, that will bring benefits to other industries," said Yang Chaobin, chief marketing officer of Huawei Wireless Network Business Unit (pictured).
"This change will be supported by CloudRAN, a new network architecture with full flexibility from topology to resource distribution that can meet the multiple requirements of things to things, people to things, and people to people communication.
“CloudRAN represents a jump forward in the RAN’s ability from single connectivity and single resource scheduling to multiple connectivity and resource slicing for a diversity of services and multiple users," said Yang.
Cloud architecture supports flexible network for coexistence of multiple technologies
Before 5G arrives supporting network architecture, CloudRAN needs to be deployed so that it can also support existing legacy networks. By introducing new network elements, CloudRAN will become a leading mainstream network architecture that can deliver function virtualization, cloud based resourcing, and flexible coordination for future needs while also supporting existing infrastructure.
Multiple connectivity for resource convergence to enable inspiring experiences
CloudRAN delivers connectivity as an innate ability inside the network; this is a major RAN improvement. This brings big benefits to the end user such as an increase in speed.
Another element of CloudRAN is its ability to carry various services with different QoS requirements on the same network using network slicing. Network slicing of multiple services is an essential element of the 5G network to address the challenge brought by different application and industry requirements.
Real-time and non-real-time resource layers for balanced distribution and centralisation
CloudRAN uses real-time and non-real-time layers to schedule resources for different service requirements. On the real-time layer, deployment is close to the end user for accurate and efficient resource management on the air interface.
On the non-real-time layer, complicated management units for time, frequency, and spacing based on large area are deployed in a centralised manner to support coordination between multiple technologies and inter-node scheduling. The network capabilities are deployed based on demand to convergence nodes in the radio, backbone, and core network, maximising efficiency and capability.
Yang concluded: “Cloud based solutions, such as CloudRAN, will become the next standard of deployment for the radio network architecture. Reconstruction through cloud is necessary not only for sites, but also for the most critical radio access network architecture to meet future needs.”