Cloud RAN-Benefits & Challenges
About Cloud RAN
Cloud-RAN combines the baseband processing for multiple sites into a baseband pool, allowing multiple cells to be controlled with fewer processing nodes and greatly reducing the amount of equipment at the cell site itself. Various Cloud RAN-benefits & challenges are also described here:
Benefits of Cloud RAN
The primary advantage of the C-RAN architecture is the overall reduction in CapEx and OpEx by consolidating and reducing the total amount of baseband equipment needed to handle a given number of cells; and reducing the equipment deployed at each cell site, which in turn reduces the power, air conditioning, real estate and other requirements at the site.
Because the C-RAN centralizes the resource allocation and scheduling across multiple cells, it can achieve efficient resource utilization and minimizes interferences across cells, i.e., improved capacity and performance.
Centralization in C-RAN can enhance the operation of features like Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP) and Carrier Aggregation (CA).
Challenges for Cloud RAN
C-RAN still has its challenges. The fronthaul requires a very high-bandwidth and low-delay optical transport between the BBUs and RRUs, capable of carrying at least 2 Gbps for each RRU on the link (for a single 20 MHz 2*2 MIMO LTE carrier).
The delay requirements, in particular, also restrict the maximum distance the BBUs can be located from the RRUs, which limits the area that the C-RAN can serve.
The overall cost and reliability of the fronthaul network must be carefully considered.
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