RCR Wireless News: Virtualized RAN – bridging the network architectures of today and tomorrow

December 22, 2014

Large cellular radio access networks today have upwards of tens of thousands of base stations, which naturally means operational complexity. To complicate matters further, these base stations operate on multiple radio access technologies and different parts of the spectrum. All this results in high costs – operating expense and capital expense – and network planning or operations headaches. To address these challenges and set the heterogeneous network up for long-term growth and scalability, operators also have to consider how to expand coverage and capacity to handle the increase in traffic volumes while lowering the total cost of ownership.

As a means to manage traffic growth, network densification through small cells is usually the first consideration for operators looking to provide service to traffic hot spots. However, operators are also turning to alternatives, such as offloading to carrier-grade Wi-Fi, or a virtualization approach to deliver effective responses to the capacity challenge.

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