Nokia unveils Radio Cloud architecture

Nokia has announced additional features to its telco cloud portfolio to create what the vendor said will be a known as radio cloud. The Finnish firm said it will help operators allocate processing capacity from almost anywhere in the network to where it is needed the most.

The kit maker claimed its radio cloud will enable network capacity to be made available from an adjacent cell or a centralised data centre. The solution supports either distributed or centralised deployments or a combination of both.

The radio cloud is built on three layers, where the radio elements and antennas are on the first layer and connect to the second. The second layer then combines relevant cells into one cloud solution enabling traffic scheduling and coordination. The final layer contains the radio elements and/or base-stations connected to a centralised data centre, which is used to increase capacity temporarily.

Nokia claimed its multi-layered radio cloud architecture is pioneering the use of Ethernet fronthaul and any combination of centralised and distributed deployments in such a system. “This is the first radio cloud architecture that offers a layered approach with different deployment models to optimise performance by enabling basic capacity to be built near cell sites, and with peak capacity in the data centre being redirected to follow traffic demand,” Henri Tervonen, VP of Mobile Broadband Architecture at Nokia Networks said.

“Continuing the evolution from Nokia Single RAN and Nokia Centralized RAN, our Radio Cloud network architecture is a tremendous platform to prepare for upcoming 5G for core and radio.”

According to Nokia, typically only 20% of a radio access network’s full capacity is used at any given time with 80% idle waiting for peak hour demand. The vendor claimed the Nokia Radio Cloud separates coverage and capacity thus apparently making it possible to allocate peak hour capacity as and when needed.

South Korean operator SK Telecom, Nokia’s client and partner, seemed positive about the development. “Through ‘Cloud vRAN’ [Radio Cloud], we expect to see more intelligence implemented in telecommunications networks and innovations in value-centered networks,” Jin-hyo Park, Director of Networks Technology Center at SK Telecom said.

“SK Telecom will continue to cooperate closely with global companies like Nokia to develop core technologies for the next generation networks, thereby leading the advancements in 5G networks and the evolution of LTE-A technology.”

Nokia also announced a cloud security solution (Nokia Cloud Security Director) and the commercial availability of its Cloud Evolved Packet Core (EPC). The vendor said the EPC combined with the Nokia Cloud Network Director can be used to orchestrate virtualised network functions including voice-over-LTE (VoLTE). The firm said the Nokia Radio Cloud, which is based on open standards, will be commercialised early next year.

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