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Telstra and Ericsson

Telstra and Ericsson

Redefining 5G performance with world-first packet fronthaul

How Telstra and Ericsson forge ahead to Cloud RAN with world-first packet fronthaul deployment

Telstra and Ericsson team up to create cutting-edge fronthaul solutions for 5G services, driving high performance and paving the way for future network advancements.

Executive summary

In late 2022, Telstra and Ericsson achieved the world's first commercial deployment of Ericsson's industry-leading packet fronthaul technology, reaffirming Telstra's commitment to delivering the benchmark 5G experience for its subscribers and enterprise customers in Australia.

The milestone was achieved using Ericsson's innovative Router 6673 which integrates industry-leading Ericsson Silicon with a full-featured routing platform.

This enables Telstra to access packet fronthaul with next generational NR radios by converting legacy fiber-based CPRI fronthaul to the new Ethernet-based eCPRI fronthaul. This laid the foundation for an evolution to high-performance centralized RAN (C-RAN) architecture, and eventually a migration to Cloud RAN which Telstra achieved six months later in July 2023.

The challenge

As with all commercial 5G networks, Telstra’s RAN is a complex patchwork of varying antennas, radios, frequencies, transport solutions, and spectrum usage techniques i.e. FDD and TDD. Upgrading to eCPRI native radios would require a complete overhaul of RAN hardware, something that is not feasible from a cost or scale perspective.

Instead, Telstra – like all CSPs – required a product which could bring the efficiency and flexibility benefits of packet fronthaul to existing CPRI-based radios. Such a solution would need to be capable of converting, packetizing and carrying a multitude of data from all radio types, including existing and legacy FDD radios over CPRI standard.

The solution

Ericsson worked with Telstra to develop an entirely new class of product: the innovative Ericsson Router 6673, enabling fronthaul (radio to baseband interface) packetization for all available FDD radios at a mobile site from legacy CPRI standard to the evolved eCPRI standard. This is achieved using unique Ericsson Silicon, integrating Ericsson RAN Compute (baseband) technology into a router for the first time and enabling best-in-class processing of the entire RAN stack.

Key benefits:

Significant fronthaul bandwidth savings by converting CPRI to eCPRI.

Architecture readiness for evolution towards a Cloud RAN.

Support for the large footprint of existing NR capable CPRI radios.

Router 6673

Router 6673

The result

Telstra has now deployed over two thousand sites based on C-RAN architecture, centralized across more than 100 C-RAN hubs within its existing exchanges nationwide. This began with a gamechanging, world-first trial across three sites in regional Victoria, Australia, demonstrating a significant 93 percent reduction in downlink peak fronthaul from 30Gbps to ~2Gbps and a 46 percent reduction in uplink peak fronthaul from 30Gbps to ~16Gbps.


reduction in downlink peak fronthaul demonstrated at an early trial using Ericsson's Router 6673

Interested in learning how to innovate the path to Centralized RAN using packet fronthaul?

Read the full story about how Telstra and Ericsson joined forces to develop new and innovative fronthaul solutions that underpin the evolution of future networks.

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