NFV C-RAN Solution developed from wireless base station functions

16th August 2016
Anna Flockett


Development of a ‘Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) Cloud-Radio Access Network (C-RAN) Solution’ which will be built on Intel processors and enabled by software-based wireless base station functions has been announced by NEC Corporation.

Wireless base station functions rely on a Central Unit (CU) that processes data and Distributed Units (DU) that send and receive radio waves. NFV C-RAN solution is enabled by software on Intel Architecture that functions as the CU. The CU controls multiple DU on a centralised basis, making it possible to flexibly control radio wave output from the DU in line with data volumes.

The NFV C-RAN solution also enables tolerance levels for communications delays between CU and DU to be relaxed, by transferring selected data processing functions from the CU to DU.

This enables Ethernet to be used as the interface between the CU and DU instead of the conventional Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI). As a result, the volume of data exchanged between the CU and DU can be reduced to less than one tenth, compared to existing C-RAN architecture.

By maintaining the same level of performance, even if connecting the CU and DU via lower capacity networks, this will enable communications carriers to develop the high performance networks they need for 5G whilst keeping capital investment to a minimum.

"NEC launched a range of innovative SDN/NFV solutions on the market ahead of our competitors," said Nozomu Watanabe, General Manager, Mobile Radio Access Network Division, NEC Corporation.  He added, looking forward, NEC will capitalise on its NFV C-RAN solutions and Management and Orchestration solutions in order to contribute to the highly efficient facility operations that are necessary for 5G.

Sandra Rivera, Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Network Platforms Group commented that Intel is collaborating with global operators and telecom equipment manufacturers to develop more intelligent and agile networks that lay a foundation for 5G. Adding: “Innovations in areas like cloud RAN offer increased flexibility to support a breadth of new use cases and will help accelerate progress toward 5G,"

NEC and Intel will be running dynamic demonstrations and showcasing the effectiveness of this NFV C-RAN solution at the Intel Developer Forum 2016 in San Francisco 16th-18th August.

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