Moving to Cloud RAN and the Potential of Edge Data Centers
Mobile network infrastructure, such as the Radio Access Network (RAN), has traditionally used industry-specific hardware owned and operated by mobile operators. Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV), and Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN) are among the initiatives breaking that tradition. The result is that the RAN and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) applications are adapting to run on centralized off-the-shelf IT infrastructure that utilizes fronthaul connections to connect to the RAN nodes.
This paper explores the process of moving from today’s conventional Remote Radio Head (RRH) deployment, where the Baseband Units (BBU) are deployed at the base of the cell tower, to an architecture in which the BBUs are deployed in one or more centralized locations.