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Traditional RAN

Characteristics :
Each base station only connects to a fixed number
of antennas
This antennas cover a small area and only handle
transmission/reception signals in its coverage area
System capacity is limited by interference
BSs are built on proprietary platforms as a vertical
Challenges in traditional RAN
Large number of BSs requires corresponding initial
investment, site support, site rental and management
support(more CAPEX, OPEX)
BSs utilization rate is low because the average network
load is usually far lower than that in peak load
BSs processing power cant be shared with other BSs
Isolated BSs prove costly and difficult to improve
spectrum capacity
Proprietary platform, means mobile operators must
manage multiple non-compatible platforms if service
providers want to purchase systems from multiple
For fast data services, mobile operators need
to upgrade their their network frequently and
operate multi-standard network including
Future RAN
Should provide mobile broadband internet
access to wireless users with
low bit cost
high spectral efficiency
energy efficiency
Support multiple standards
Provide a platform for additional revenue
generating services
Cloud RAN
Centralized base band pool processing
Centralized signal processing reduces the number
of sites equipment
Cooperative radio with distributed antenna
equipped by remote radio head(RRH) provides
higher spectrum efficiency
Real time cloud infrastructure based on open
platform and BS virtualization enables processing
aggregation and dynamic allocation, reducing the
power consumption and increasing the
infrastructure utilization rate.
Architecture of C-RAN
Centralized processing, cooperative radio,
cloud and clean(Green) infrastructure radio
access network(C-RAN) answer to solve
Natural evolution of distributed BTS,
composed of Baseband unit(BBU) and Remote
Radio Head(RRH)
Architecture of C-RAN
2 kinds of C-RAN solutions :
Full centralization : baseband(i.e. layer 1) and
layer2, layer3 BTS functions are located in BBU
Partial Centralization : RRH integrates not only
radio function but also baseband function(still
calls BBU even baseband function doesnt
Architecture of C-RAN
based on 2 different splitting methods, there
are 2 C-RAN architectures, consist of 3 main
parts :
Distributed radio units(RRH) + antennas located at
remote site
High bandwidth low-latency optical transport
network which connect RRHs and BBU pool
BBU composed of high-performance
programmable processors and real time
virtualization technology
Full centralization
Full centralization
Easy upgrading
Network capacity expansion
Capability for supporting multi-standard
Maximum resource sharing
Support of multi-cell collaborative signal processing
High bandwidth requirement between BBU and to
carry baseband I/Q signal
TD-LTE 8 antenna with 20MHz will need 10Gbps
transmission rate
Partial centralization
Partial centralization
Requiring lower transmission bandwidth between
BBU and RRH(separated baseband processing from
BBU and integrating it into RRH)
BBU-RRH connection only need to carry demodulated
data which is only 1/20 to 1/50 of original baseband
I/Q sample data
Less flexibility in upgrading(since baseband processing
is integrated into RRH)
Less convenience for multi-cell collaborative signal
full and Partial centralization
Install new RRHs and connect them to BBU pool to expand network
coverage or split cell to improve capacity
Upgrade BBUs pool HW to increase processing capacity.
Fully centralized solution combined with open platform and
general purpose processors to provide an easy way to develop and
deploy SDR
SDR enables upgrading of air interface standards by software only
and make easier to upgrade RAN and support multi-standard
RRH does not belong to any specific physical BBU.
Radio signal from/to a particular RRH can be processed by a virtual
BS, which is part of the processing capacity allocated from physical
BBU pool by real-time virtualization technology(to maximize
Advantage of Cloud RAN
Energy efficient/ Green infrastructure
No. of BS sites reduced. Thus, Air conditioning and other
site support equipments power consumption largely
Distance from RRHs and UEs can be decreased, since
cooperative radio technology can reduce interference
among RRHs and allow higher density of RRHs
Energy used for signal transmission will be reduced, which
is especially helpful for reduction of power consumption in
RAN and extend UE battery stand-by time.
Higher utilization rate of processing resources and lower
power consumption can be achieved, since BBU pool is a
shared resource among a large no. of virtual BS

Advantage of Cloud-RAN
Cost-saving on CAPEX/OPEX
BBUs and sites support equipment are aggregated, so saves lot of O&M cost associated with large number
of BS sites
Though no.of RRH may not reduced but size and power consumption are reduced because of simpler
Capacity improvement
Virtual BSs can work together in large physical BBU pool and can easily share signaling, traffic data and
channel state information of active UEs
For Example, cooperative multi-point processing technology(CoMP in LTE-Advanced), can easily be
implemented under C-RAN infrastructure.
Adaptability to non-uniform traffic
C-RAN is suitable for non-uniformly distributed traffic due to the load-balancing capability in distributed BBU
Though serving RRH changes dynamically according to movement of UEs, the serving BBU is still came BBU
As coverage of BBU pool is larger than traditional BS, non-uniformly distributed traffic generated from UEs
can be distributed in a virtual BS which sits in same BBU pool.
Smart internet traffic offload
Internet traffic from smart phones and other protable devices, can be offloaded from core network of
operators. This benefits : reduced back-haul traffic and cost, reduced core network traffic and gateway
upgrade cost, reduced latency to users

Challenges of Cloud RAN
Radio over Low Cost Optical Network
Optical fiber between BBU pool and RRHs has to carry a large amount of baseband sampling data in
real time.(about 10 gigabit level with strict requirements of transportation latency and latency
jitter(considering LTE))
Advanced cooperative transmission/reception
To support cooperative multi-point joint processing algorithms(to achieve higher spectrum efficiency, mitigate
interference), both end-user data and UL/DL channel information needs to be shared among virtual BSs.
Interface between virtual BSs to carry this information(end-user data package, UE channel feedback information,
virtual BSs scheduling information) should support high bandwidth and low latency to ensure real time cooperative
Baseband pool interconnection
To achieve high reliability and allow flexible resource allocation of BBU, there must be a high bandwidth, low latency
and low cost switch network with flexible, extensible topology that interconnects BBUs in the pool.
Through this switch network, the digital baseband signal from any RRH can be routed to any BBU in the pool for
Base Station virtualization technology
As baseband processing unit is being centralized, it is essential to design virtualization technologies to
distribute/group the processing units to virtual BS entities.
Major challenge of virtualization : real-time processing algorithm implementation, virtualization of baseband
processing pool, dynamic processing capacity allocation
Service on Edge
Services on the edges integration with RAN, intelligence of DSN and deployment and management of distributed
Wireless signal transmission on optical
BBU-RRH connectivity requirements pose
challenge to optical transmission speed and
Optical fiber transmission used to carry BBU-
RRH signal to meet the strict bandwidth and
delay requirement

BBU-RRH Bandwidth requirement
MIMO antenna configuration and system bandwidth are main
factors which impact on OBRI(open BBU-RRH Interface)
Bandwidth for 200KHz GSM systems with 2Tx/2Rx antennas and 4x
sampling rate is upto 25.6 Mbps
Bandwidth for 1.6MHz TD-SCDMA systems with 8Tx/8Rx antennas
and 4 times sampling rate is up to 330Mbps
Multiple antenna technology(2~8 antenna in every sector), wide
bandwidth(10MHz ~ 20MHz every carrier) widely adopted in
Multi-hop RRH and high orders MIMO supporting 8Tx/8Rx antenna
configuration, wireless baseband signal bandwidth between BBU-
RRH would rise to Gbps.
So, bandwidth of CPRI/OBRI link bandwidth must be much higher
than 2G and 3G

Data compression Techniques of
Unavoidable bandwidth issue in time domain schemes( eg.
Reducing signal sampling, non-linear quantization and IQ data
compression) and frequency domain schemes( sub-carrier
For LTE system with 20 MHz bandwidth, BBU uses 2048 FFT/IFFT
but effective number of subcarriers is only 1200
so if the FFT/IFFT is implemented in RRH, then Ir interface between
BBU and RRH only has to transmit effective data subcarriers
Reduces load by 40%
However, frequency domain compression is not feasible as it leads
to increase in IQ mapping complexity which increase interface logic
design and processing complexity
DAGC time domain based compression technology used for IQ
Comparsion for various data
compression techniques
Fiber resource in access transmission
4 different solution to carry CPRI/Ir/OBRI
Dark Fiber : suitable only when there is plenty of fiber
WDM/OTN : suitable for Macro cellular base station
Unified fixed and mobile access like UniPON : suitable
for C-RAN centralized baseband pool deployment of
indoor coverage
Passive WDM
UniPON based on passive WDM technology is
promising solution but design in less cost is a
Dynamic Radio Resource Allocation and
Cooperative Transmission/Reception
Key Target: increase average spectrum efficiency
and cell edge user throughput efficiency
User at cell boundary experience large inter-cell
interference(ICI), which cause severe degradation
of system performance and cannot mitigate by
increasing transmit power of desired signals.
So, to improve system spectrum efficiency,
advanced multi-cell joint RRM and cooperative
multi-point transmission schemes should be
adopted in C-RAN
Cooperative Transmission/Reception
Well accepted technique to increase cell average spectrum efficiency and cell-edge
user throughput
Characterized in 2 classes :
Joint Processing/transmission(JP)
Incurs large system overhead
UE data distribution and joint processing across multiple transmission points(TPs)
Channel state information(CSI) is required for all TP-UE pairs
Coordinated scheduling and/or Coordinated Beam-Forming(CBF)
Improve cell edge user throughput via coordinated beam-forming with minimum; cooperation
No need for UE data sharing across multiple TPs
Each TP only needs CSI between itself and involved Ues
CT/CR reduce interference and improve spectrum efficiency of system. However, it
has many challenges :
Advanced joint processing schemes
DL channel state information(CSI) feedback mechanism
User pairing and joint scheduling algorithms for multi-cells
Coordinated radio resource allocation and power allocation schemes for multi-cells
Large Scale BaseBand Pool and its
Centralized Baseband Pool
Dynamic allocation of carrier processing within one BBU to adapt to dynamic workloads
among different RRH connected to it.
A single BBU has limited processing capability(support 10 macro BSs carriers)
Not capable of supporting dynamic resource allocation across different BBU, thus hard to
resolve dynamic network load in larger area.
In current RRH+BBU architecture,
RRH connected to particular BBU by fixed link
It can only transmits it baseband signal and O&M signaling to BBU its connected to.
Difficult for another BBU to obtain/sending any uplink/downlink baseband data to this RRH
Thus, processing resources of different BBUs can hardly be shared and hence, wasted
Centralized baseband pool should provide high bandwidth, low latency switch matrix with an
appropriate protocol to support high speed and low cost interconnection among multiple
Infinite Band Technology can provide significant switching bandwidth(20Gbps-40Gbps/port)
and very low switching latency. But cost per port is very high.
Distributed optic interconnection to combine multiple BBU into a scalable baseband pool
Large Scale BaseBand Pool and its
Dynamic carrier scheduling
Dynamic carrier scheduling of resources within baseband pools enhances redundancy of
BBU and increases overall operational reliability of baseband pool
When baseband card or a carrier processing unit fails, work load can be promptly
redistributed to other available resources within the pool, and restore normal operation
Large scale BBU inter-connection
Interconnection between BBUs must satisfy the wireless signals requirements of low
latency, high speed, and high reliability (CPRI/Ir/OBRI interface should support real time
transmission of 2.5/6.144/10Gbps rate)
Dynamic carrier scheduling among BBUs to achieve efficient load balance within system
and failure protection without service interruption
Support mulitpoint collaboration(CoMP). It needs to consider the data flow between
different BBUs to support collaboration radio
Fault tolerance : fiber inter connection should support 1+1 failure protection, BBU frame
and baseband processing board N+1 protection to achieve high system robustness
High scalability: it can extend the system capability smoothly without services
Open Platform based Base Station
Current Multi-standard BS Solutions
Mobile operators uses multi-mode base stations for low cost operation.
Therefore, SDR based on common platform to support multi-standards has become mainstream.
2 types of multi-mode base stations
Unified BBU system platform
to support multi-mode operation by plugging different processing boards.
Processing board which supports multi-standard has a unified interface and can be plugged in same BBU system
Some modules of BBU system such as control module, timing module and RRH I/O modules can be shared
between BBU processing boards which support different standards
cant share processing resources between different processing boards and usually need to replace or add new
Unified BBU system and Unified processing board hardware platform
to support multi-mode through software reconfiguration.
Through software upgrades or configuration, same processing board can support different standard.
RRH can also be SDR-enabled to support different standards in same spectrum band.
BBU restart require in order to download new DSP/FPGA software for standards upgrade.
This limits sharing of hardware between different standards and also prevents dynamic resources allocation
according to real-time traffic
Current SDR base station partially meets requirements of multi-standards support, but, does not
satisfy operator flexible operation requirement of dynamically shared resources among multiple
standards, load balancing etc.
But progress in DSP and GPP (real-time OS running, improved BBU processing density) has made SDR
based BS solution more attractive
Base Station Virtualization
Once large scale BBU pool with high-speed, low-latency interconnection, plus common platform of
DSP/GPP and open SDR solution could be realized, it has set base for virtual BS
Basically, What is Virtualization??
Abstraction of computer resources
Hides the physical characteristics of a computing platform from users, instead showing another abstract computing
Such concept can be utilized in a base station system
Operator can dynamically allocate processing resources within a centralized baseband pool to different
virtualized base stations and different air interface standards.
This allow operator to efficiently support variety of air interfaces and adjust according to demands in
different area
At the same time, common hardware platform will provide cost effectiveness to manage, maintain,
expand and upgrade the base station.
In given centralized baseband pool, all the physical layer processing resources would be managed and
allocated by a real time virtualized operating system.
So, a base station instance can be easily built up through the flexible resource combination.
The real time virtualized OS would adjust, allocate and re-allocate resources based on each virtualized
base station requirements, in order to meet it demands.
All adjustments will be done by software only.
With this mechanism, the base stations of different standards can be easily built up through resource
reconfigure in software
Processing resources can be assigned in a global view, thus resource utilization can be improved
Baseband Pool
Base Station virtualization
To implement real time virtualized base station in a centralized
baseband pool, following challenges need to be solved:
High performance low-power signal processing for wireless signals
General purpose processor and advanced processing algorithm for real
time signal processing
High bandwidth, low latency, low cost BBU inter-connection topology
among physical processing resources in baseband pool. It includes
interconnection among the chips in BBU, among the BBUs in physical
rack, and among multiple racks
Efficient and flexible real-time virtualized operating system, to achieve
virtualization of hardware processing resources management and
dynamic allocation of physical processing resources to each virtual
base station, in order to ensure processing latency and jitter control
HW level support on virtualization in order to minimize latency.
Distributed Service Network
To ensure high system reliability based on disaster tolerance and auto recovery
technology in software implementation.
In platform layer, DSN and C-RAN both encapsulate their network elements
through virtualization technology on general servers
But, how to implement resource management is key issue in unification of DSN
and C-RAN
Evolution Path
C-RAN Centralized base station deployment :
seperating RRH and BBU and baseband
processing resources between multiple BBUs in a
centralized BS can be scheduled in carrier level
Multi-standard SDR and joint signal processing :
BBUs baseband processing function can be
implemented by SDR
Virtual BS on Real-time cloud Infrastructure :
baseband processing tasks are real-time
computing taskd in a real-time baseband pool

With distributed RRH and centralized BBU
architecture, advanced multipoint
transmission/reception technology, SDR with
multi-standard support, virtualization
technology on general purpose processor and
service on edge of RAN, C-RAN provide
profitable growth