Concept: Erricson has launched Cloud RAN (radio access network), a cloud-native software solution handling compute functionality in the RAN. The solution can act as a catalyst for both large-scale and centralized 5G deployments to deliver enhanced network capabilities. The company aims to enable communications service providers (CSPs) to add better flexibility and versatility to their networks.

Nature of Disruption: The Ericsson Radio System portfolio’s high-performing purpose-built baseband products will be supplemented by Cloud RAN, giving service providers the best option for any deployment scenario and demand. It will enable CSPs to handle new business opportunities as well as a wide range of 5G use cases for industry, indoor, stadiums, enterprise, and other locations. Ericsson Cloud RAN will be released in stages to coincide with CSPs’ transition to purpose-built 5G networks. The first stage will lay the groundwork, providing a 5G low band system-verified solution that will make the move to a virtualized RAN using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware platforms simple. Ericsson’s new Cloud RAN application software – Cloud RAN DU and Cloud RAN CU – is included in the first stage, allowing for a highly capable and flexible 5G network architecture. It also features new Radio Gateways, which allow full exploitation of the installed base of distant radios while also making them Cloud RAN compliant. Future mid-band rollouts will be built on the foundation of these items. It is compatible with the Ericsson Radio System portfolio and supports Ericsson Spectrum Sharing and 5G standalone and non-standalone. Moreover, Cloud RAN is designed to support Service Management and Orchestration architecture including Non Real-Time RAN Intelligent Controller (Non-RT RIC), in line with O-RAN interfaces.

Outlook: Automation and virtualization, notably Cloud RAN, could play a crucial role in future network evolution as the telecoms industry develops 5G networks around the world. These technologies will help networks become more open, with cloud technology providing new innovative RAN deployment options that complement existing tried and trusted solutions. 5G is an open innovation platform. Thus, Erricson intends to co-create and bring new cloud ideas to the 5G area by empowering a bigger community of developers and industries. Since the service developed on the company’s experience in designing and deploying cloud core networks, as well as in service management and service orchestration worldwide, it can help CSPs to use web-scale technology to bring scalability and reduce time-to-market for developers and enterprises to innovate new services.

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