3) What role will virtualisation and SDN play for fronthaul specifically?
“The greatest advantages of virtualisation can only be realised once the virtualisation is end-to-end; not just covering the base stations of the network but extending virtualisation across the fronthaul to include network radio resources.
“With a multipoint-to-multipoint fronthaul network that leverages virtualisation and SDN, base stations resources can be remotely configured using software and allocation can be dynamic and elastic. This means network components that traditionally reside within dedicated hardware can be easily pooled, shared and accessed, and can be routed to any destination point – which will be fundamental to the success of 5G.”
4) Can mobile operators support future 5G networks while taking advantage of their existing capital investment?
“Absolutely. Cost has always been the Achilles heel of a technology migration. 5G is yet another network. While future-proofing and modernising the network in preparation for what’s to come is important, having the ability to support legacy 2G, 3G, and 4G networks is also vital. After all, operators have invested billions into their existing infrastructure and therefore need to modernise these networks that will continue to carry the weight of traffic.
“That’s where a multipoint-to-multipoint fronthaul capable of supporting multiple fronthaul interfaces, technologies, vendors and mobile operators plays an important role. It can support legacy Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) and new protocols such as Radio over Ethernet (RoE), eCPRI and Next Generation Fronthaul Interface (NGFI). This will not only ensure mobile operators have a 5G-ready fronthaul network, but that they can maximise their current CAPEX by combining legacy infrastructure with 5G on a common fronthaul transport network irrespective of the equipment vendor.”