Open RAN Direct RF Sampling Radio Transceiver Architectures For Massive MIMO

Using programmable and fully configurable cloud-RAN components is essential in migrating networks toward virtualization and SDN control.


With the exponential increase in wireless traffic, mobile networks are transformed into more software-driven, virtualized, flexible, intelligent, and energy efficient systems. These trends have stimulated significant change in the core network with the advent of software defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), which have enabled building more agile and less expensive network entities. However, the radio access network (RAN) largely remained unchanged until recently, despite the fact that the majority of the capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operating expenses (OPEX) in building and managing of networks resulted from the RAN deployment. Traditionally, RAN components such as radio transceivers and baseband were implemented on proprietary hardware and these components typically used vendor-specific protocols for communications. The software and interfaces between different RAN components were customized for optimal performance of the proprietary hardware. Disaggregated base station architecture with open interfaces was introduced in 5G to allow multi-vendor solutions while ensuring interoperability of various components. A key challenge arising from the migration toward open-RAN architectures is the scale and flexibility of deployment, optimization, security, management, and orchestration of the network.

RAN cloudification was one of the fundamental tenets of the open-RAN architecture. CloudRAN architecture addressed capacity, flexibility and coverage issues, while supporting mobile fronthaul and/or backhaul solutions as well as network self-organization, self-optimization, configuration, and adaptation with software control and management through SDN and NFV techniques. Cloud-RAN has also provided advantages in managing operational costs, improving network security, network controllability, network agility, and flexibility. Considering the migration of the networks toward virtualization and SDN control, the use of programmable and fully configurable cloud-RAN components is essential, to minimize operators’ CAPEX and OPEX when deploying networks in different scenarios and geographies.

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