Telstra has moved its cloud radio access network (RAN) testing from lab environments to its commercial network, claiming it to be an Australian first.
According to the telco, the technology – which virtualises special equipment at its towers and moving it to another centralised cloud location in its network – enables it to share resources between many sites to serve customers as traffic changes.
The cloud RAN uses products from Ericsson, specially its CloudRAN (vDU and vCU), Cloud Native Infrastructure Solution, Router 6673 and Radio 4415 (n7 FDD) and AIR 6449 (n78 TDD) solutions.
Not only has Telstra claimed its cloud RAN is an Australian first but also that its one of the first commercial network tests of the technology worldwide.
This, the telco said is due to the use of a centralised architecture – moving the specialised equipment, or baseband structure, from the base-station site and placed at a centrallised location.
“Centralising and virtualising our RAN is critical to get the most out of 5G now and in the future,” said Telstra network and infrastructure executive Iskra Nikolova.
“Deploying a 5G location needs about [150 times] the computing power than a 4G site, which means to achieve what 5G is capable of – including slicing and other services – we’d need to upgrade the RAN across thousands of sites
“This allows us to roll out network capacity and new features faster while making our networks more intelligent, flexible, reliable and secure.”
The supposed Australia-first nature of the technology also comes down to Telstra’s centralised cloud Ran architecture being facilitated by its packetised fronthaul solution, which uses Erricon’s Router 6673 to convert on site common public radio interface (CPRI) to enhanced CPRI, or eCPRI, in order to reduce fronthaul data volumes.
Additionally, Telstra is hosting the CloudRAN software on Ericsson’s CNIS.
The telco and Ericsson’s history includes working together on a 5G edge compute solution, as announced back in October 2021 along with Microsoft, then moving to customer trials a few months later in February.