The Small Cell Forum (SCF) recently announced the launch of its Disaggregated RAN Transport Study (DARTs) tool. The online calculator evaluates and compares bandwidth requirements for various popular splits associated with disaggregated RAN.
“One key aspect of Open RAN is the splitting of base station functions into separate units, separated by fronthaul and midhaul connections. Backhaul then connects the RAN to the core network,” SCF said in a statement. “RAN functions, which can be centralized, take advantage of resource pooling, easy upgrades and make the remote units light. By contrast, centralizing such functions introduces new requirements for latency and transport resources in the midhaul and fronthaul segments.”
Each split presents different benefits and challenges. The main aspects that impact the relative cost and performance are the fronthaul performance requirements in terms of bandwidth and latency. With transport a central consideration in determining the cost and efficacy of a particular split architecture, SCF has developed a simplified, user-friendly version of the DARTs tool that is freely available online for the industry. A full version of DARTs with more detailed data and calculations is available to SCF members.
“In the 5G era, deployers and equipment developers need to be able to select from a menu of open RAN options in order to address different use case requirements effectively, but without resorting to customized or proprietary approaches,” SCF Chair, Mark Reudink, said. “We’re extremely proud of the DARTs tool, which helps deployers evaluate the transport implications of a range of architectures and plan, design and budget for transport networks in different deployment scenarios.”