Driving to 5G, SK Telecom, Nokia implement software-defined RAN
Claiming a world first, he Korean telco said the new technology paves the way for 5G network innovation
SK Telecom and Finnish vendor Nokia have implemented what they claim to be the world’s first cloud-based software-defined radio access network (SDRAN)–also known as Cloud RAN–in a commercial network.
SDRAN is a next-generation cloud-based radio access network and cloud base station equipped with various IT technologies based on open architecture. With this new technology, mobile communication functions are turned into Virtual Machines (VM) to be implemented on general-purpose servers, and integrated within the cloud.
SK Telecom said that the new technology is expected to accelerate 5G network innovation that evolves beyond All IP toward All IT.
Since the demonstration of virtualized RAN functions in 2013, SK Telecom has continued to work with Nokia to innovate using base station equipment by combining communication infrastructure and IT. Last year, the Korean completed a field test of SDRAN technology.
By commercializing the virtual core network and SDRAN, SK Telecom believes it is now in an good position in accomplishing the world’s first virtualization of an entire LTE network as well as innovation of 5G network structure.
“Network innovation through convergence of telecommunication and IT is an urgent task to deal with explosive growth of data traffic. SK Telecom will continue to develop innovative technologies like SDRAN to lead the evolution toward next-generation network,” said Park Jin-hyo, SVP and Head of Network R&D Center at SK Telecom.
“We are paving the way towards 5G, and cloud-based radio networks delivering the scalability and flexibility required to allow operators such as SK Telecom to meet the future data demands of customers, enabling new levels of user experience at minimal cost and maximum operational efficiency,” Nokia’s Mobile Networks products head, Frank Weyerich, said.
Nokia launches Mission Critical Communications Alliance
In related news, Nokia has announced the formation of the Mission Critical Communications Alliance, a global collaboration of mobile operators, national and local-level public authorities and first response agencies to formalize standards in the use of LTE for public safety.
Over ten service providers and agencies such as Mobile Radio Center from Japan and Vodafone Hutchison Australia are participating in the initiative, the vendor said.
“The Mission Critical Communications Alliance will work towards realizing the unique benefits of LTE in public safety, enabling national, regional and local authorities to provide a higher level of safety and security for their citizens, while creating innovative new business models for service providers,” Nokia’s Chief Customer Operations Officer, Ashish Chowdhary, said.