Pipeline: Intelligent RF Routing and RAN Virtualization Puts an End to Wireless Over-Provisioning

October 29, 2014
The demand for reliable wireless indoor services is not a passing trend. Mobile communications usage has massively shifted from outdoor to indoor environments. The ubiquitous use of bandwidth-hungry wireless devices has made in-building wireless systems essential, much like standard building utilities such as water and electricity. Rapid development of new wireless technologies and the subsequent introduction of new wireless services call for a flexible and scalable architecture that is future-proof and capable of managing the exponential growth of traffic volumes.

Mobile operators need to address the expected growth in mobile traffic volume today and minimize the waste of valuable network resources. While C-RAN does hold some potential, operators are right to mull over the long-term implications and costs of such an overhaul to their networks. RAN virtualization empowers operators to remotely reconfigure and redistribute the radio coverage and capacity from the core to the antenna. It’s a solution with more immediate benefits than those of C-RAN without requiring a complete adaptation of the radio network infrastructure.

Legacy RAN infrastructures provide coverage and capacity with a fixed allocation of baseband and radio resources and with a price –high TCO and the amount of spectrum resources required. Static allocation of resources means that systematic over-provisioning is needed in order to meet peak demands at any time. C-RAN has its limitations in virtualizing only the baseband whereas RF Routing virtualizes entire cells, allowing for efficient use of the most precious resource: spectrum. Even with limitless financial resources, operators cannot add spectrum because it’s a finite resource. By making radio signals route-able, RF Routing makes better use of the limited spectrum resources which is a priceless commodity. C-RAN alone cannot do this, therefore, the impact of a fully virtualized RAN can be tremendous for operators.

Virtualizing the RAN through intelligent RF Routing empowers network operators to maximize the value of their network resources today and have the resources to manage the anticipated exponential increase in mobile data traffic of tomorrow. It also puts an end to over-provisioning and the systematic waste of resources while saving network operators from costs associated with network operations, ensuring that they can positively affect their bottom line. The C-RAN architecture may well be part of operators’future, but RAN virtualization covering both the baseband and the radio parts of the cells can offer all of the benefits of C-RAN in a more comprehensive and flexible approach – today.

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