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Embarking on the evolution to Packet Fronthaul

Embark the evolution to Packet Fronthaul

5G enables a more efficient Fronthaul network

5G networks are going live around the world and Ericsson technology is leading the way. With 5G come several new opportunities but also new ways to evolve networks. Packet Fronthaul is one!

Handling of installed base of CPRI radios

Ericsson’s strategy is all Packet Fronthaul for the complete radio portfolio to ensure the most cost-effective transport solution regardless of RAN architecture. As we migrate our radio portfolio from native CPRI fronthaul to eCPRI Packet Fronthaul we have solutions to convert the existing Ericsson CPRI interface to Ericsson LLS eCPRI by moving baseband processing from the Digital unit to our new Radio Gateway, Router 6673 CPRI line card products leveraging Ericsson Silicon.

With Ericsson’s Packet Fronthaul solutions, you have an efficient and flexible toolbox for all your different deployments needs, that can also cater for continued network evolution. Using verified end-to-end solutions and products managed with a common management system, you will make sure you have the best performing networks and ease of use.

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Benefits of Packet Fronthaul

Ericsson introduced eCPRI for the first time in 2017 and has since implemented eCPRI for Ericsson Massive MIMO TDD AAS radios. Our experience with Packet Fronthaul has led to an all-Packet Fronthaul strategy for the complete LTE/NR radio portfolio.

  • The eCPRI interface enables up to a ten-fold reduction (depending on the functional split between DU and RU) of the required bandwidth and in addition the required bandwidth can scale flexibly and proportionally with user plane traffic.
  • eCPRI enables the efficient use of Packet-based transport technologies. Mainstream technologies like Ethernet open the possibility to carry both eCPRI traffic and other traffic simultaneously in the same Packet Fronthaul network. Packet Fronthaul also provides the ability to automate the rehoming of Radio units, therefore decreasing OPEX.
  • The interface is future proof, allowing new feature introductions by software updates of the radio network.
Packet Fronthaul

Ericsson Packet Fronthaul solutions

Ericsson’s portfolio is designed to allow flexible deployment scenarios need by service providers with support for both eCPRI and CPRI. Considerations of the needs of carrying different traffic types and deployment in different physical locations are reflected in the flexible and modular platform. Ericsson Packet Fronthaul offering includes three gateway products with different capabilities, ensuring the best solution for each deployment scenario and site requirement.

Router 6673

Fronthaul gateway

Ericsson Router 6673 is a Fronthaul Gateway, with embedded RAN Compute functionality using the unique Ericsson Silicon solution. It enables efficient conversion to eCPRI for Ericsson RAN sites, and can also use Radio over Ethernet (RoE) to cater for older types of radios in the network. With Conversion being the most effective method in terms of bandwidth savings, 60 to 80 percent in savings can be achieved depending on RAN configuration, at the same time reducing the fiber and transport equipment needs. It also works as a cell site router and aggregates enterprise traffic.

R608/308

Radio gateway

The Radio Gateway family is an evolution of the Baseband R503 CPRI mux/demux product. The new Radio Gateways switches and converts multiple CPRI streams to one eCPRI 25GE stream. The Radio Gateways are part of the gNode/eNodeB system. There are two product variants: indoor 19” and an outdoor version that follows the RAN Compute outdoor building practice.

Packet Fronthaul deployment scenarios

In the paper, we present several deployments scenarios including Cloud RAN. This is one of them describing a Packet Fronthaul in a CRAN deployment.

Packet Fronthaul in C-RAN networks

Figure 11: Packet Fronthaul in C-RAN networks

It may be desirable to convert CPRI to eCPRI at the antenna site to optimize the connectivity from our new RAN Compute basebands with high speed 25GE fronthaul interfaces. For example, in a compact antenna site, one Radio Gateway R308 could connect the site back to RAN Compute at a hub location using one fiber per antenna site.

The Radio Gateway R308 and R608 products at the antenna site can aggregate multiple CPRI radios onto a single 25GE eCPRI connection toward RAN Compute at the hub site. For compact sites with NR capable CPRI based Radios, R308 and R608 offers the lowest footprint and most cost-effective solution.

For larger capacity radio sites with mix of legacy and NR capable CPRI/eCPRI radios, Router 6673 offers the most flexible solution. Router 6673 can aggregate multiple CPRI radios, eCPRI radios and potential enterprise services traffic to 100GE connection toward hub site while providing feature rich synchronization and Packet functionalities.

Related content

More information about the benefits of Packet Fronthaul

With the introduction of high-rate Massive MIMO radios, new 5G spectrum, and support for CRANs, a (r)evolutionary step in redesigning fronthaul transport was needed to meet the deployment challenges faced by the communications service providers.

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