Opening up the road to 5G by redesigning the fronthaul
5G is more than a new generation of technologies. It marks an inflection point for how we connect with the world today. It also promises instantaneous, high-speed data access to billions of users, devices, machines, buildings, and cities – each placing new demands on mobile infrastructure and sparking the need for a change in its design, starting with the Radio Access Network (RAN).
To provide the different levels of performance, spectrum, latency, and power that various applications require, 5G disaggregates the RAN into different functions and employs a flexible, service-oriented protocol stack with centralized network control. Because of this, fronthaul, or the connection between these functions in the RAN, has become a critical component in delivering the vision of 5G we’ve been promised. Yet the current closed, proprietary, and point-to-point approach to managing the fronthaul network threatens this.