• Network Capacity: If 5G must serve in excess of 50Mbps anywhere to a higher number of devices than LTE ever dreamed of – a new RAN hierarchy of more powerful edge network devices with local caching capability is required. 5G brings not only more users and demand for high-bandwidth services downstream and upstream (i.e. Netflix, YouTube and Facebook) but also 6.4 Billion connected things which is just 1B things shy than the current population of earth!
• Dynamic Provisioning: Users are not always in the same place at the same time – think shopping malls, sports stadiums, or concert venues – sometimes packed and sometimes empty – new virtual RAN and Mini- Cloud RAN systems can move more functionality to the edge in demand and thus offload bandwidth across the whole network. This means reacting faster to increasing local user download and upload, especially with video, and meeting the stringent network latency requirements set by 5G.
• Cutting Capex costs: The new network doesn’t need static overprovisioned base stations anymore, and instead employs a hierarchy of an always-on core cloud connected to a sea of users moving throughout the network. This means using the existing cloud to handle peak loads with lower cost general purpose edge hardware like the VRAN, combined with a mini cloud-RAN architecture with dense processing resources in a small affordable footprint at the edge for highly populated areas.
• Power-Efficient Design: By virtue of dynamically serving more users per cell site and not having to build out for peak capacity in every site, but rather a group of cell sites with changing traffic needs over time, ongoing power, cooling and energy costs can be reduced. Advanced low-power multicore processor design inherently reduces the power traditional equipment demands and serves more users, with Intel’s Xeon-D increasing the number of cores available in a dense low-power footprint.
It’s exciting to see how much more our evolving mobile network can do for users, or how it can morph to our needs with NFV, but in the process can deliver so much more services at a fraction of the costs to keep operators profitable.
Linsey Miller (@linseymmiller) is the VP of Marketing for Artesyn Embedded Technologies. At MWC ’16 Artesyn 5G-ready platforms will be featured in 2 demonstrations on the VRAN and Cloud RAN in the 5G ready and Network zones at the Intel booth, with products designed for global RAN networks using Intel® Xeon® processor D-1500 product family microserver blades and Intel® Ethernet Multi-host Controller FM10000 Family (formerly Red Rock Canyon) 100G switching. More about the VRAN and Cloud RAN can be found here: