Nokia is continuing its initiative to deploy open ecosystem technology, but not at the expense of purpose-built systems. Most recently, it deployed a 5G SA Cloud RAN in Sofia, Bulgaria. The cloud RAN is being piloted by A1 Group, a digital communications service provider with coverage in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Belarus, Slovenia, North Macedonia and Serbia.
During the trial, the companies successfully performed an end-to-end 5G data call (Layer 3 call) using Nokia’s Cloud RAN as well as its AirFrame servers. A1 is testing the capabilities of Cloud RAN technology to assess the value of moving to the cloud.
“Cloud RAN and open interfaces are drivers for building and delivering future generations of cloud-based networks and edge services,” said Alexander Kuchar, Director Technology & Business Evolution, A1 Group. “It introduces flexibility in the architecture of our infrastructure and related operating model and helps us to deliver innovation and the benefits of digitalization to our customers.”
In the trial, the Nokia Cloud RAN vDU (virtualized distributed unit) served radio cells at a distance of more than 9.3 miles. Additionally, operational efficiency was increased using Nokia’s suite of cloud deployment automation tools, the OEM said.
“This trial demonstrated the progress that has been made toward the commercial viability of larger-scale Cloud RAN deployments,” Christoph Rohr, Head of Customer Business Team at Nokia, said. “Cloud RAN brings agility, flexibility, and openness for operators and enterprises in collaboration with the wider industry ecosystem.”
Nokia recently announced the launch of anyRAN to help mobile operators and enterprises extend their options for building and evolving their radio access networks. Nokia’s approach is designed to support the co-existence of Cloud RAN with purpose-built networks. A1 and Nokia successfully integrated Nokia’s Cloud RAN solution with A1’s transport and Packet Core networks.
“Our customers deserve the flexibility to choose between Cloud and purpose-built RAN. This is what Nokia provides with anyRAN, which we underlined with this trial,” Rohr said.
By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor