There is no denying to the fact that 5G networks have revolutionised all the industries. With time and effort, they are expected to operate the overall work processes faster and smoother. Those who are aware of 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) covers widespread telecommunication technologies which includes RAN, service capabilities and core transport network as well. It has provided comprehensive system specifications for technicians and architecture of 3G network which is a lot more service-oriented than the previous generations.
With the help of standard framework to network functions various organizations are providing services that allow the perfect use of such services. The telecom installers, the reusability, FTTH and self-containment of network functions are the additional considerations of designs for a 5G network architecture as explained by 3GPP specifications.
5G Spectrum and Frequency
Various frequency ranges are not dedicated to the 5G new radio. The radio spectrum with frequencies between 30GHz and 300GHz are known as millimetre wave since there is a range of wavelengths from 1-10mm. The frequencies lying between 24GHz and 100GHz allows the technicians to allocate 5G in various regions all over the world.
Moreover, with regards to the millimetre wave, the underutilized frequencies between 300MHz and 3HGz are further moved to 5G. The telecom installers believe the millimetre wave frequencies are perfect for the densely populated areas however do not work effectively for long distance communication. With the higher and lower frequency bands that are committed to 5G, all the carriers have begun to create their own discrete individual portions of 5G spectrum.
For people who are not aware of this term MEC is the acronym of Multi-Access Edge Computing, it is an essential element of 5G architecture. MEC is an evolution in cloud computing and has changing the industry as it brings the applications from centralized information centres to the network edge. It is therefore closer to the end users and their devices. The telecom installers create a shortcut in delivery of content between the host and user and the long network path that segregates them.
One should know the advanced technology is not restricted to 5G only but is extremely important to its efficiency. The MEC characteristics involve low latency, high bandwidth and real time access of RAN information that differentiates 5G architecture from its predecessors. The RAN convergence along with the core networks and FTTH need operators to leverage new schemes for validation and network testing.
All the networks relied on 3GPP, 5G specifications are the perfect environment for MEC deployment. It enables edge computing and 5G to collaborate route traffic. In addition to bandwidth benefits and latency of the MEC architecture the computing power distribution will allow the high volume of connected devices inherent to 5G deployment and the rise of IoT.
NFV and 5G
NFV popularly known as Network Function Virtualization separates software from hardware by replacing the different network functions which includes load balancer, routers with virtualized instances and firewalls running as software. It eliminates the need to invest in different expensive hardware elements and accelerate the installation time thereby providing rapid revenue generating services to the customers.
Moreover, it also allows the 5G infrastructure to virtualize applications in its network. It includes the network slicing technology that leads to different virtual networks to run side by side. It further addresses the other 5G challenges with the help of storage, virtualized computing and network resources that are personalised and based on the customer segment and applications.
Architecture of 5G RAN
The NFV concept extends to the RAN such as network disaggregation that is promoted by various alliances including O-RAN. It allows flexibility and creates new opportunities for competition, give open interfaces and open-source development to ease the new featured deployment along with technological scale.
The main objective of O-RAN Alliance is to allow the deployment of multi-vendor with off the shelf hardware for easier and faster inner-operability. The dis-aggregation of networks further allow network components to be virtualized and provide a mean to improve the user experience with the growth of capacity. The advantages of virtualizing components of RAN provide a mean to be cheaper from the viewpoint of hardware and software particularly for IoT applications where the device number is in millions.
The dis-aggregation of network with the operational split further brings other cost-effective measures that are specific to the introduction of new interfaces which includes eCPRI. One thing that you must comprehend is that the RF interfaces are not cheap while you are testing the huge 5G carriers as its costs constantly increase. The eCPRI interfaces further presents a cheap solution for a few interfaces as they can be used to test different carriers of 5G. It is particularly aimed to be the one standardized interface for 5G that is used as the front haul interface of O-RAN such as DU. CPRI as compared to eCPRO was developed for 4G but it is quite vendor specific and makes it pretty challenging for operators.
5G architecture options
5G architecture has been changing the world by bridging the gap between 4G and 5G, it needs incremental steps along with the orchestrated game plan. The symbolism of this shift will be the slow transition from non-stand-alone mode to the stand-alone mode of the various 5G architecture options. 5G non standalone standards has been finalized for 3 years and it utilizes existing LTE RAN and the other core networks as an anchor with the addition of 5G component carrier. Despite the dependency on the current architecture, the non-standalone mode has increased the bandwidth by entering into millimetre wave frequencies.
The standalone mode of 5G is necessarily the 5G deployment from the ground up with the new 5G architecture along with the full 5G hardware deployment. As the non-standalone mode slowly gives a route to a new 5G network architecture, with the careful implementation and planning the overall transition will be pretty simple for user base.