South Korea’s SK Telecom (SKT) and Nokia claim to have deployed the world’s first cloud-based software-defined radio access network (RAN) in a commercial network.
The software-defined offering is a cloud-based RAN and base station equipped with various IT technologies, which enables traditional base station functions to be implemented on a general-purpose IT server, the companies said in a statement.
Also known as cloud RAN, the technology takes advantage of virtualised functions to deliver increased network scalability and elasticity, enhancing quality of service and network stability with features such as functional split and automatic recovery of errors.
In June Nokia rival Huawei announced that China Mobile had deployed its own CloudRAN architecture in networks in Nanjing, Dongguan, and Anhui provinces.
Huawei said its CloudRAN architecture enables networks to handle multiple site types (macro, micro and small cell) as well as different network standards (3G, 4G and Wi-Fi). This adaptive capability, allowing operators to move away from single-frequency networking, is vital as site density increases.
SKT said the open architecture and software-based configuration, which a traditional cloud RAN lacks, will allow it to offer a variety of third-party edge services that provide localised communication services. Service quality is likely to improve due to more stable network operation, it said.
The implementation of the virtualised core network and virtualised base station lays the foundation for an evolution towards a 5G network structure, SKT said.