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kuntal0
kuntal0
3/9/2018 | 9:08:22 AM
Addressing the concerns expressed in this post
It's important to clarify the concerns expressed in this post.

First, use of CoTS hardware to run RAN baseband application isn't any different than a data center running mission critical applications such as Stock Exchange and Banking. At a data center, the hardware issues are resolved with commonly used tools and well-established faulty hardware replacement mechanisms used by companies such as Nasdaq, Citi Bank, Google, Facebook and Amazon to name a few. On top of it, the robustness that comes with NFV with auto failover, live migration, scale up & down and in & out makes vRAN much more reliable and fault tolerant than today's custom hardware based legacy RANs can ever provide. In case the operators like SKT want to implement such high availability platform for RAN, it will be stupendously costly to implement on a custom hardware & custom platform centric RAN. Operators like SKT should be moving towards a highly available and more robust infrastructure than what is available from the legacy RAN vendors.

Second, the end-to-end integration and delivery of the vRAN solution is the job of a system integrator. It's highly unlikely that the operator will be left to fend for itself to integrate the NFV/SDN platform and applications like vRAN and vEPC. There are very capable SIs stepping up to play this role, e.g. Tech Mahindra, Amdocs and Italtel.

Third, the use of NFV doesn't rule out implementation of RAN protocol stacks requiring extremely low latency. There are very capable telecom-grade NFVIs out there that can support applications requiring micro seconds of latency in a very predictable way. vRAN solution, by default doesn't require virtualization of all layers including PHY. However, NFVI solutions exist in the commercial market today to provide the ultra-low latency that LTE & 5G PHY and MAC require for all use cases including uRLLC.

Fourth, use of FPGA does not introduce more latency than some custom-built processor. ALL of the 5G NR products in 2018 - 2019 timeframe will be with FPGA based PHY. Only in the later part of 2019 and 2020 onwards, we will see some ASCI and SoC based PHY products. Hence, it's rather confusing to state that FPGA is an issue.

SK Telecom is highly respected for its leadership role in bringing transformative solutions to the telecom space. I sincerely hope that the concerns about virtualization of the RAN infrastructure that SKT expressed in this post get addressed in a rational way, and the operators such as SK Telecom don't get left behind due to the FUD.

 


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