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Open Source Infrastructure Software for vRAN Deployment and Operation

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© HEAVY READING | WIND RIVER | OPEN SOURCE INFRASTRUCTURE SOFTWARE | AUGUST 2019 3 integrated are both valid from a standards point of view. Figure 1 shows how this logical architecture might be deployed. Figure 1: Next-Gen Logical RAN Architecture Source: Heavy Reading For various reasons – R&D investment, radio performance, cost efficiency, support and maintenance, network management, and so on – radio base stations have generally been designed and integrated by a single vendor. There are, however, moves to open up and disaggregate the RAN. In the near term, these moves will help support specific use cases (such as enterprise, in-building, or rural coverage); in the longer term, they have the potential to affect the RAN industry structure. There are two major aspects of open RAN: • Create open interfaces between functional modules. Such interfaces will enable operators to pursue new deployment models, foster competition and innovation, and source commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment from multiple vendors. • Decouple hardware from software. This refers primarily to the virtualization of baseband software (DU and CU) to run on cloud infrastructure. New techniques are emerging to address the performance challenge of virtual basebands. Cloud-Centric vRAN Deployment and Operations There are numerous options for RU, DU, and CU deployment at edge locations. They can be integrated at a cell site (i.e., similar to a traditional radio base station), split across diverse edge sites according to use case, colocated with edge network functions and cloud services, or deployed on-premises at an enterprise or public venue. These deployments bring new challenges to the operating model. In a classic RAN, base stations are managed by sophisticated but vendor-proprietary element management systems. In an open vRAN, the operator also needs to manage the edge cloud environment on which the vRAN applications and associated edge services are deployed. Because this is highly distributed infrastructure, with multiple edge locations, new cloud management tools

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