Pipeline Magazine: The Evolution of Wireless Networks: Shift from Hardware-centric to Software-centric
With the exponential growth of mobile data traffic, wireless operators globally are investing heavily on infrastructure including base stations, Distributed Antenna System (DAS), small cells and others to satisfy the demand of the users. However, the wireless operators’ competitive landscape has changed that revenue is not keeping pace with the capital (CAPEX) and operational (OPEX) expenditure; therefore, new business models are needed for the wireless operators to find new sources of revenue and remain competitive.
In reacting to this trend, wireless operators are looking at RAN Virtualization and Software Defined Networking (SDN) to simplify network management, and enable rapid reconfiguration of the networks to remain agile and flexible, and to reduce costs. What this mean is that much of the hardware based topology and the control and monitoring functionality of the network elements will be virtualized in web-scale data centers to eliminate much of the hardware. With this, wireless operators can move from being hardware centric to software centric and become a digital wireless content and service provider.
In this article, we will go over the evolution of the Radio Access Network (RAN), the benefits and challenges of Virtualized RAN, and how wireless operators can seamlessly migrate from current RAN architecture to future networks while protecting their current investment.