How to ensure emerging RAN requirements are actually supported by transport

Operators are rolling out many new tricks to get more capacity into their networks – Massive MIMO, Licensed Access Assist (LAA), higher order carrier aggregation, and Coordinated Multipoint (CoMP). With 5G will come even more advanced spectrum sharing techniques. What all of these techniques have in common is the need for new basebands, and much more demanding coordination between basebands. Read on for how to how to ensure these emerging RAN requirements in LTE and 5G will actually be supported by the transport network.

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Shane McClelland

Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Head of Transport

Emerging RAN requirements require 5G-ready transport

We all know spectrum is a scarce asset, and competition for it is fierce. The demand for spectrum is driven not only by growth in mobile subscribers and data use, but also new mobile applications, use cases and devices that consume significantly more bandwidth.

Operators are looking for ways to get more out of use the spectrum they own, as well as add new spectrum to the mix to ensure they can support data demand into the future and bring new services to their subscribers.

To address demand and take best advantage of available spectrum, LAA, Massive MIMO, CoMP and Carrier Aggregation are all available and being deployed in 2019. Looking to 5G, NR will be introduced on both new and legacy spectrum bands. Ericsson has developed new Spectrum Sharing Software that lets carriers quickly upgrade their nationwide networks to 5G coverage without completely dedicating existing 4G spectrum to 5G. In other words, Spectrum Sharing Software can turn existing 4G towers into hybrid 4G/5G towers, maintaining 4G availability as we move to 5G.

Ericsson Spectrum Sharing Software, available on Ericsson Radio System products, applies unique intelligent scheduler algorithms to dynamically share spectrum between 4G/LTE and 5G/NR carriers, based on traffic demand. Operators can make the most efficient use of scarce spectrum and enable superior end-user performance.

So, what do all these emerging techniques demand from your Transport network?

Transport purpose-built for radio coordination

To implement spectrum sharing techniques such as Carrier Aggregation, Coordinated Multipoint, and License Assisted Access, basebands controlling radios operating on one band must be aware of, and share state information with, basebands and radios operating on a different band. This radio coordination traffic is super-bursty due to strict TTI intervals; it can go up to 10Gbps per burst. Often times, coordination occurs between co-located basebands in a Centralized RAN (CRAN) Hub. In other cases, radio coordination must happen between basebands that are geographically separated.

Both deployment models require high capacity, low latency, scalable, robust connectivity between basebands. In many LTE sites today, the existing transport components cannot accommodate the new requirements and must be augmented – more ports, more routers, more space at the site. Ericsson's 5G Transport portfolio has been purpose-built to enable RAN coordination and provide the capacity required to support advances in LTE and 5G. Our Router 6000 has best in class aggregate throughput, market leading 10/100GE port density in a variety of form factors, hardened for a variety of deployment models such as in a cabinet at a macro-site or as top-of-rack switch in a CRAN Hub.

Click here to learn more about how Ericsson 5G Transport solutions are enabling superior RAN performance.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Shane McClelland
Shane is responsible for Radio Access Network (RAN) Transport product and solutions sales focused on Microwave and Fiber-based Mobile Backhaul, Fronthaul, Routers and applicable partner offerings. Shane is part of the Networks Domain which develops innovative & profitable network solutions for Ericsson's North American customers.
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