SK Telecom and Nokia take the RAN to the cloud in world first

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Sep 12, 2016

via Flickr © decidida (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via Flickr © decidida (CC BY-ND 2.0)

  • SK Telecom & Nokia first commercial SD or Cloud RAN deplyment
  • SDRAN to lay the foundation for 5G network structure
  • NFV at the RAN

South Korea's SK Telecom and Nokia say they’ve implement world's first cloud-based, software-defined RAN - also known as Cloud RAN - in a commercial network. The idea is to take advantage of virtualized functions to deliver all sorts of operational advantages, such as increased scalability and an open architecture capable of laying the foundation for  a 5G network structure.  

SDRAN is defined as a next-generation cloud-based radio access network where what were mobile communication functions are turned into Virtual Machines (VM) to be implemented on general-purpose servers, and integrated within the cloud.

So traditional base station functions can be implemented on a general-purpose IT server including the functional split between real time and non-real time processing functions, Ethernet-based interface, and intelligent operation.

By applying general IT technologies to an interface as well as base station processing, the new technology is expected to accelerate 5G network innovation that evolves beyond All IP toward All IT, claims Nokia.

All the usual ‘virtualisation’ virtues are said to accrue with the approach - for instance, since the network is implemented by software, it is easier and quicker to add new network functions and significantly shorten the time for delivering new technologies to customers.

One of  advantages of the approach is that a virtualized a base station can be assigned high-speed data processing tasks to avoid network delay, thus providing a stepping stone to the  next-generation, low latency communication network.

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