Finnish communications giant Nokia has announced a recent collaboration with British telco Vodafone to trial its cloud-based radio access network (Cloud RAN) technology.

At Vodafone’s testing facility in Italy, the companies put the macro network innovation through various trials to evaluate how it could support operator transition from 4G to 5G services and IoT.

A Nokia press release explains that the trialled technology placed the Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN platform on the AirFrame NFV infrastructure and split baseband processing functionality between real-time and non-real-time functions.

This capability allows for time-critical functions to be performed closer to the end user at the edge of the network while serving a wide area with Ethernet-based fronthaul offering connectivity to the virtualised functions.

Non-time-critical functions are centralised and virtualised in an NFV infrastructure platform located at the edge of the RAN, allowing a view over the network and providing radio capacity to be scaled as required.

The tests, which were prepared and executed by a team of Nokia engineers and Vodafone radio experts, measured peak data rates, as well as download and upload speeds across a selection of different scenarios on the macro network, containing high power macro cellular base stations.

According to Nokia, its Cloud RAN results reached each of Vodafone’s key performance targets for throughput, capacity and resiliency. It argued that this demonstrates that cloud-based RAN could provide the same level of service provided by more traditional LTE networks.

Nokia suggested that the cloud technology would also provide the added benefits of increased scalability, flexibility and efficiency.

The two firms said that they would continue to collaborate on the Cloud RAN project and would aim to deploy commercial roll-outs in the near future.

Ed Gubbins, a senior analyst for mobile access infrastructure at Current Analysis, commented that through this research Nokia is maintaining its lead in driving and commercialising Cloud RAN innovations.

“The timely launches of Nokia’s AirScale and AirFrame solutions give it an edge in this space, and its proactive moves to develop multi-access Edge computing technology – earlier than most rivals – give it added credibility,” Gubbins noted.

Home