Demystifying Cloud RAN Architectures

Frank Rayal

Imagine a wireless service provider can provide service anywhere there’s Internet connectivity at the click of a button. All they need is a small remote radio connected to the Internet. The baseband modems no longer reside at cell sites, but are hosted in data centers where powerful commercial servers execute all the functions of todays base station baseband units. The remote radios can even be self-deployed by the mobile subscribers. The service provider would have full control of the service features which can be configurable on the fly. Sounds like science fiction to some, but this is what virtualization of the radio access network aims to achieve.

No wonder then that the term Cloud RAN which meant centralization and virtualization of baseband became an overused term to denote all types of architectures. We live in the world of Anything as a Service (XaaS). Which investors would put money now in a…

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C-RAN and the True 5G

Frank Rayal

5G Cloud RANWhile people may debate what 5G will be, there are a few key facts that cannot be changed. These facts will shape what 5G will be. Based on this we expect that new winners will emerge who can capitalize on new trends through innovating new solutions. Therefore, aside from the hype that dominates 5G talk, the key is to peel the layers that shroud the fundamentals. Over the last three years of researching the potential for Cloud RAN (C-RAN), I saw all the traits of a disruptive technology lurking in the background (2014, 2015). But with 5G, I think this can all change, and C-RAN will bolt to the foreground in more than one way.

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Operators pick their own MANO

We have suddenly too many opensource versions of the MANO “standard” : OSM (openMANO) , Open-O, etc. which includes cloudify, rift.io, juju, tacker, etc. At least these projects are promoted by actual telco customers. Let’s see if they become a defacto standard, before the actual ETSI documents are finished.

Axians UK Blog

There’s an old saying in IT that any standard is good enough as long as it is a standard, which loosely translates as ‘we don’t care what it is, only that everybody sticks to it’.

So the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) must be at least a little nervous that certain carriers are busy building their own open source versions of the management and orchestration (MANO) tools they need to effectively provision and deliver virtualised cloud services to their enterprise customers – one of the key functions that the ETSI network function virtualisation industry specifications group (NFV ISG) was originally set up in 2013 to co-ordinate.

The in-house MANO tools we know about so far come from Open O from China Mobile (Open O), Tata Communications (TCS Telco Cloud), NTT (Gohan) and Telefónica (OpenMANO). But there could be many more from different carriers, service providers and operators lurking just beneath…

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On my way to MWC!

I’m very happy to announce that next week I’ll be at the Mobile World Congress (#MWC2016) in home, sweet home Barcelona.mwc2016_logo

At Red Hat, we’ve prepared many exciting demos and announcements that will appear in our Telecommunications blog 4k

I’ll be presenting a Video on Demand transcoding solution demonstration (from Vantrix) that covers the challenges of 4K (UHD) Video delivery, and how OpenStack can help.

In this blog I’ll write about my daily discoveries, but if you want a quick chat, you can come visit me at the Red Hat booth in the MWC,  2G230 Hall2

Furthermore, I’ll be writing about Mobile Edge Computing and how our open source solutions can be used to create the foundational infrastructure for the edge datacenter in 5G, IoT and C-RAN architectures.

And now a quick word of advice to the first-time travelers to Barcelona:

  • Instead of a regular coffee, order a Cortado (in spanish) / Tallat (in catalan). It’s our version of the italian Macchiato, but better
  • Although the most typical morning drink is Cacaolat, a local chocolate milk invented almost a century agot. You can try the Granja Viader near Ramblas/Liceu, the bar that created that drink that’s been running since 1870 . You can also order, in any bar, a freshly backed Donut (not your typical dunkin donuts, try one!) or a Bocata de Pernil Iberic (a long-bread sandwich of spanish cured ham) with the omnipresent Pa Amb Tomaquet (sounds like “pamtoomakat”) which is a baguette cut in half with tomato spread, oli, and salt or garlic on it… hmmm… delicious and crunchy!
  • Make sure you go visit Plaça Espanya. From there you can go shopping/dinner inside Las Arenas (a former Plaza de Toros, now converted to a mall)  and watch the amazing Magic Fountain (every day at 8 and 9pm I think) on your way to the big museum on the top of the hill.
  • And for god’s sake don’t eat anywhere in las Ramblas. Go to the Gotic, east side of Ramblas (fine cuisine), avoid Raval, west side (more ethnic food), and remember: if there are pictures of the food at the door, you won’t eat well.
  • If you stay over the weekend, go to see the views of the city from the Park Guell where its iconic dragon will meet you with his mouth wide open!

park-guell_dragon-600x436

 

Comparing Openstack vs AWS to Tesla vs Edison

After reading this article I realized the current situation between AWS (public cloud) vs Private cloud (IBM/Cisco/HP/Dell-EMC) is very similar to the Electricity landscape in mid-1800’s ending in the War of the Currents in late 1800’s (AC vs DC)

Let me explain my point in this analogy: before electricity was discovery, manufacturing used natural power (water, air and animals) to create movement that was transferred inside the factory to help process goods using belts and chains. When electricity appeared, an Electrical generator was used as a power source, copper cables transferred electrical power to machines, and increased productivity and the density of workers, with reduced maintenance for the machinery.

So eventually every factory had its own coal-powered electrical generator (i.e. x86 servers nowadays), and line workers used their machines (i.e. computers) that required the energy that came via the copper wires (i.e. internet or VPN access).

Then the Power Grid was invented, and the industry wanted to shutdown their small electrical generators and leverage the bigger power grid. Outsourcing servers to AWS (public cloud) is like connecting the factory to the power grid (public electricity), but there were no standards for that in late 1800s, hence the Edison (DC) vs Tesla (AC) war.

In this case, Amazon is Edison, the greedy inventor, with lock-in in his veins (DC was patented). Tesla is Openstack, a generous inventor with open APIs and specs to build your own special sauce on top of a good-enough standard (60Hz, 110V, but easily changeable to 50Hz, 220V)

We’re seeing the struggle of Industries outsourcing their power generators and connecting it to the grid (i.e. the cloud). But there is the Monopoly way (Edison), and the Open way (Tesla)

Let OpenStack be the Tesla here, it will help the ‘Tech Giants’ to fight the good battle (Interconnected Private clouds using Openstack) and provide better services to the Industry.

Marcos Garcia, an OpenStack enthusiast