1) What are the network design issues that'll be created by 5G networks?
“The shift from 2G to 3G was a considerable step function change for the industry. The move from 3G to 4G was a bit more drastic, and 5G will present even greater hurdles. All were dependent on new infrastructure to support the heightened data demand and use cases without any real attention to CAPEX cost.
“At a time when 4G infrastructure expansion continues to grow and 5G hardware rollout is set to drive up CAPEX even further, operators need a capacity-efficient and cost-effective way to manage the requirements of the Internet of Things, smart cities, and many other use cases 5G is set to deliver. This challenge isn’t new. But, on the cusp of 5G evolution, it does present new considerations when it comes to future network design – and this starts with the Radio Access Network (RAN).
“Legacy RAN infrastructure is inefficient as it is based on dedicated custom hardware. Until now, this lack of flexibility and scalability has led operators to make large CAPEX investments to support new technological advancements and business models. This is where RAN virtualisation (or vRAN), which takes advantage of software running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, and centralised RAN, which enables efficient pooling of resources, offers a lifeline and will have a key role to play in the overall success of 5G.
However, RAN virtualisation must happen in the entirety of the network, from the cloud to the core and the fronthaul network. Only an end-to-end vRAN can give operators the flexibility, efficiency, and cost savings to support the varying demands of 5G.”