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July 17, 2013

Cloud to Improve Efficiency of Mobile Networks

The promise of cloud computing is far-reaching, from the efficiencies it can provide individual organizations to the impact it can have on mobile networks around the world.

The increasingly widespread use of smartphones capable of delivering streaming audio and video is leading to an exponential growth in the volume of traffic carried by mobile networks. Such growth is expected to continue in the next few years, with forecasts that anticipate a hundred-fold increase in traffic by 2020, Phys.org reported.

The European Commission’s Digital Agenda has set a goal of providing EU residents of data rates of at least 30 Mbit/s by 2020. This translates to future mobile networks that will have to provide exceptionally greater traffic volume in the near future, expecting an increase of up to 500-1000 times today’s throughput by 2020. 

Image via Shutterstock

To address such enormous data needs, the EU’s iJOIN project has proposed the concept of radio access network-as-a-service (RANaaS), which provides an optimal split of RAN functionality between the mobile network and the cloud, as it is flexibly centralized through an open IT platform based on a cloud infrastructure iJOIN is an FP7 STREP project co-funded by the European Commission under the ICT theme (Call 8) of DG CONNECT.

“This split takes into account not only the computational benefits of using the cloud but also the bandwidth costs,” the report explained.

The introduction of the RANaaS concept has the potential to open the RAN/backhaul market for new players, like vendors and providers of cloud infrastructure platforms, according to the project’s website.

“RANaaS also provides the technological foundation for shorter and more efficient product development cycles due to the shift from dedicated equipment to software-based functions operated on cloud infrastructures,” the website said.

Not only does this solution promise to open the RAN/backhaul market for new players, such as vendors and providers of cloud infrastructure platforms, it can also lead to a significant reduction of costs for operators, because part of the RAN computation complexity is moved to the cloud infrastructure.

Partners involved in the project include HP, Sagemcom Broadband, Telecom Italia and Intel Mobile Communications.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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