Nokia’s new AirScale Cloud RAN solution helps deliver 5G’s promises

Nokia’s new AirScale Cloud RAN solution helps deliver 5G’s promises
Ryan is an editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

Nokia has unveiled a “next-generation” Cloud RAN (Radio Access Network) solution which will help to deliver on 5G’s promises.

The Finnish telecoms giant believes that its latest solution will help operators to generate revenue from 5G services, enable “flexible” end-to-end network slicing, and take full advantage of IoT opportunities.

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said:

“The next-generation Nokia 5G AirScale Cloud RAN is a true innovation that will transform mobile networks and provide operators with the flexibility they need to meet the customer demands in the evolving 5G era.

Its flexible architecture offers speed, coverage, capacity and low latency as well as the opportunity to generate revenues immediately.”

The new solution is based on vRAN 2.0 which introduces a virtualised Distributed Unit (vDU) – running on x86-based computing with Level-1 hardware acceleration – as well as a Fronthaul Gateway.

Nokia says it has successfully completed trials of 5G data calls in a complete end-to-end system featuring the vendor’s Cloud Packet Core, 5G AirScale Cloud in vRAN2.0 configuration, Nokia Fronthaul Gateway, and a commercial 5G device.

Rather than require an expensive and time-consuming network overhaul, Nokia has designed the solution to utilise existing assets. Nokia’s Fronthaul Gateway, as one example, enables operators to upgrade their CPRI-based radios to eCPRI-based AirScale 5G Cloud RAN.

Nokia has put a great deal of focus on making its solution as flexible as possible – supporting all variations of architecture. The vDU can be decentralised to an edge or far edge cloud, or even at the cell site.

By enabling the vDU to be moved closer to the edge, Nokia says its solution will allow operators to fully-utilise the benefits of 5G such as low-latency. This opens up far more opportunities in areas like the IoT where reliability and speed is often critical.

Ed Gubbins, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, commented:

“Cloud RAN has the potential to fundamentally transform mobile networks, making them more agile and dynamic and allowing operators to be more nimble in activating new services and revenue streams.

Nokia has been more proactive and consistent in driving Cloud RAN technology than its peers, and the launch of its fully cloudified 5G AirScale Cloud RAN solution is only the latest example of its commitment.”

Nokia’s latest 5G AirScale Cloud RAN solution will become commercially-available this year. Pending successful trials, Nokia expects general availability of the solution in 2021.

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