Vodafone Pilots Nokia’s Cloud-based RAN In Italy

Vodafone recently has conducted a network efficiency trial using Nokia’s cloud-based RAN (radio access network) that helps in the smooth transition from 4G to 5G and the connectivity demands from the internet of things based connected wireless platforms.

The trial, which took place at Vodafone’s testing facility in Italy, used the Nokia Cloud RAN platform to evaluate the performance of centralized 5G-ready architecture, measuring peak data rates as well as download and upload speeds in a range of scenarios on the macro network, containing high power macro cellular base stations.

As a result, the trial found that the Nokia Cloud RAN achieved all of Vodafone’s key performance criteria for throughput, capacity and resiliency, demonstrating that a cloud-based RAN architecture can provide the same level of high-quality service provided by a conventional LTE network, but with the added scalability, flexibility and efficiency delivered by cloud technology.

The trial involved Nokia AirScale Cloud Base Station Server, a virtual base station running LTE technology, and Nokia AirFrame Data Center platform designed to meet stringent radio access capacity, performance and latency requirements powered by its real-time cloud infrastructure software. Nokia Global Services’ engineers worked closely with Vodafone’s radio experts to prepare, execute and validate results from the different test cases

The Cloud RAN architecture enables operators to use their radio assets more efficiently to meet future connectivity needs, with the Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN platform running on the AirFrame NFV infrastructure and splitting baseband processing functionality between real-time and non real-time functions. As a result, time-critical functions can be performed closer to end users at the edge of the network, while serving a wider area with Ethernet-based front-haul providing connectivity to the virtualized functions. Non-time-critical functions are centralized and virtualized in an NFV infrastructure platform located at the edge of the radio access network, offering a view across the network and allowing radio capacity to be scaled when and where it is required.

Santiago Tenorio, Head of Networks, Vodafone Group, said: “Working with Nokia on this trial we have seen how the application of Cloud RAN architecture can help the network react to changing demands quickly. It speeds up the delivery of services and will help with the transition to 5G.”

Roberto Loiola, Head of Vodafone Global Customer Business Team at Nokia, said. “Our Cloud RAN technology can help operators optimize network performance even as they cope with the increasing demands being placed upon them. This trial with Vodafone builds on this promise, enabling Nokia to apply its longstanding working relationship with them to explore how we can enable the smooth and efficient transition from 4G to 5G.”

A Nokia statement said that both the companies will continue to collaborate on this project with the aim of deploying the technology commercially.


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