The world’s first commercially deployed 5G cloud-based Radio Access Network is live in the U.S., Nokia said this week in a blog post. The company didn’t name the carrier or location in the post, but it was accompanied by a tweet from an official Nokia Twitter account which indicated that the advantages of a cloud-based 5G RAN were being showcased at a Verizon Enterprise event in Dallas, Texas.
Here’s to the world’s 1st commercially deployed cloud-based #5G radio access network – showcasing its advantage in Dallas at @VZEnterprise‘s event. https://t.co/OPJZtvpadZ#5G4B2B #BusinessAfterHours pic.twitter.com/SgciFZ0SXU
— Nokia for Communications Service Providers (@nokianetworks) August 22, 2019
“This is a significant achievement and sets the stage for further innovations,” wrote Mark Atkinson, who heads up the 5G and small cells business unit within Nokia’s Mobile Networks Business Group. “Cloud RAN is key to achieving higher scalability and a more agile business. Innovation speeds up as software cycles become more rapid, so new services are rolled out faster [ … and] improving operational efficiency and retaining maximum flexibility to meet unpredictable demand in dense areas.
“As service providers deploy 5G, they will face the need to extend their subscriber base and offer new types of services to address the enterprise market, particularly those in the industrial sectors, where performance and reliability is key,” he wrote, saying that cloud RAN provides a platform for innovations to serve those sectors.
Atkinson went on to say that the 5G cloud RAN implementation was enabled by Nokia’s cloud base station, which “splits traffic to ensure each connection gets the service it needs.” Describing the architecture, Atkinson said that time-critical functions are processed at the cell site by distributed units connected via Ethernet fronthaul, while a centralized control unit “performs non-real-time functions fully virtualized and more cost-effectively in a centralized data center.
“This flexible mix of local and cloud-based processing is a real game changer,” he added. “This means that we can combine performance, scalability and efficiency at its best – in the radio unit (RU), distributed unit (DU) and centralized unit (CU).”
Nokia previously conducted a cloud RAN field trial with China Mobile Research Institute, testing out a virtual reality gaming application in CMCC’s live 5G Nonstandalone network. That trial was made public in February of this year.
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