2) How does the fronthaul network need to evolve for these issues to be addressed?
“To provide the different levels of throughput, bandwidth, latency, and power that various applications require, 5G disaggregates the RAN into different functional partitions and employs a flexible, service-oriented protocol stack with centralised network control. Because of this, fronthaul, or the connection between these functions in the RAN, has become a critical component in delivering the vision of 5G we’ve been promised. Simply put, the current point-to-point fronthaul network isn’t up to the challenge for next-generation networks.
“The traditional point-to-point fronthaul network with a fixed allocation of baseband and radio resources might have been tenable for 3G and 4G but it just isn’t going to cut it in a 5G world. This is where a multipoint-to-multipoint network that leverages RAN virtualisation will play a key role. This approach lets any baseband module be connected to any remote radio unit, regardless of vendor or protocol interface.
“The end goal of a multipoint-to-multipoint fronthaul network is to give mobile operators the flexibility to mix-and-match different fronthaul protocols, vendors, and technologies to create an agile and open RAN. This way, mobile operators can select matching RAN elements that best fit varying 5G applications and deployment scenarios in the most cost-effective and efficient way.”