Nokia has completed a live network trial in Poland in collaboration with Orange to validate the benefits of cloud-optimised radio access networks for the smooth evolution to next-generation 5G technologies.
The two companies trialled cloud RAN technology to prepare for the eventual introduction of a distributed cloud architecture for 5G by Orange. A distributed, cloud-based radio access network architecture like Nokia’s AirScale Cloud RAN provides capacity where needed and prepares the network for the deployment of new 5G access technology as part of a multi-layered architecture.
The trial took place from March to the beginning of May in Poland, with radio sites in the city of Chelm and the virtualised part of the baseband running in a data centre in Lublin, around 70 km away. As a result, Nokia’s AirScale Cloud Base Station provided equally strong network performance on both Nokia’s reference cloud infrastructure and on Orange’s own cloud environment.
Nokia’s architecture splits baseband processing functionality across the radio cell sites and data centre using its AirScale Cloud Base Station. Time-critical functions are performed at the cell site and connected via Ethernet fronthaul – allowing the operator to use its existing transport network – while centralised software hosted at the data centre cost-efficiently performs non real-time functions.
Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN provides the flexibility needed for future services and requirements for 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), low latency services and end-to-end slicing.
Piotr Jaworski, CTO of Orange Poland, said: “During this trial, Orange Poland has successfully trialled virtualised RAN architectures in collaboration with Nokia and investigated the impact on network operations. The quality and performance observed during the trial give confidence on the RAN virtualisation and is a critical step for us towards 5G.”
Arnaud Vamparys, VP Radio Access Networks and Microwaves of Orange Global, said: “For Orange, RAN virtualisation is a critical enabler to deliver a better and more homogeneous customer experience on 4G and future 5G networks, allowing these multi-service networks to simultaneously handle various type of objects with different connectivity needs. The positive outcome of this trial is an important step towards the implementation of this enabler inside our networks in Europe and Africa.”
Alain Biston, Head of Mobile Network Business Management at Nokia, said: “This successful live trial of the innovative AirScale Cloud RAN technology is a key milestone in the joint work of Orange and Nokia. Cloud RAN is a key enabler for the coming era of 4G and 5G flexible networks, low-latency services and end-to end slicing, building on a distributed cloud network architecture like our Future X. We have demonstrated that Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN is ready for commercial deployments, helping Orange and other customers to start deploying flexible and agile cloud-based networks.”