What is Cloud RAN?

Mavenir crossroad cityscape
29 November 2017
Authored by: John Baker

With all the new RAN technologies flying around, it’s easy to confuse one acronym with another. So, let’s just clear up one of them.

Cloud RAN is definitely not the same thing as C-RAN. But what’s the difference? For starters, C-RAN stands for “Centralized Radio Access Network,” which is a stepping stone to true Cloud RAN that mega-hardware vendors would have you believe is a necessary first step. It’s not, but for the moment, let’s just run with it. C-RAN, as the name implies, centralizes the baseband processing so that one physical location can handle hundreds of cells—across a city, for example.

True Cloud RAN, like Mavenir’s solution, is much more advanced. It’s where C-RAN wants to be. With our Cloud RAN, baseband processing functions that would otherwise be hardware-dependent are virtualized and located in a cloud. The architecture gives you many advantages. First off, you can use low-cost, commercial off-the-shelf servers (i.e., COTS), a factor that greatly reduces your capex—up to 49% according to our study with Senza Fili. Furthermore, it greatly simplifies network management and orchestration (MANO) and enables resource pooling; it’s also super-flexible and automatically scalable to meet the demands of even the largest RANs.

So, there you have it. If you’d rather be on the path to 37% TCO savings and 5G, then step away from big vendor hardware dependency and take your RAN into the Cloud.


INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE About the TCO model for virtualized and distributed RAN?

Download the How much can operators save with a Cloud RAN? white paper with the recently released results of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) model.

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John Baker
John Baker
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John Baker

John Baker is the Senior Vice President of 5G Business Development at Mavenir. A veteran of the mobile industry, board member for 5G Americas, and sought-after industry speaker, John Baker leads the 5G team at Mavenir, intent on disrupting the market by transforming operator network economics.

A visionary and driving force behind Mavenir’s business strategy, John is at the forefront of the company’s drive to change operator views on wireless infrastructure deployment—promoting a software-focused approach to innovation, with no ties to supporting legacy hardware.

Prior to joining Mavenir, John held senior positions with leading wireless companies, including: 

  • GM Mobility Infrastructure atSpirent Communications 
  • VP& GM Network Solutions atCommScope 
  • VP & GM Base Stations at Nokia
  • VP of Technology and Chief Technology Officer at Pacific Bell Mobile Services 

John also contributed significantly in the development of the GSM standards. He graduated with an Honors Degree in Electrical Electronic Engineering from Loughborough University in Leicestershire, UK. John is frequently quoted in major wireless industry publications including Wireless Week, Fierce Wireless, Light Reading, SDX Central, RCR Wireless and Mobile World Live.