Aricent, Tech Mahindra, Benetel & Phluido Partner to Create Virtualized LTE RAN for Cable Networks

Solution from Telecom Infra Project's vRAN members enables cable network providers to launch new services, deliver consistent Quality of Service over 4G and prepare for 5G

Aricent, a global design and engineering firm, Benetel, Phluido, and Tech Mahindra announced today that they are co-creating a Virtualized LTE RAN Reference solution under the guidance of CableLabs. The reference solution will provide 4G RAN services over existing cable network. Telecom Infra Project is an Open Source Telecom hardware and software consortium established by Facebook.

A cable network with DOCSIS is susceptible to variations in delay and throughput in the data path. This innovative reference solution relies on a functional split known as 3GPP Option 7-x and includes a combination of advanced features including protocols for fronthaul. Enhancements to RAN Layer 1 and Layer 2 implementations from Phluido and Aricent allows cable operators to overcome common challenges with DOCSIS, such as latency, jitter, and limited capacity to make it an effective means for fronthaul transport.  In this way, cable operators can benefit from RAN virtualization and centralization, while reusing existing DOCSIS network infrastructure as transport.

Aricent is the lead software integrator in this initiative. The reference solution utilizes Aricent LTE RAN software framework based on Cloud-RAN architecture. The solution has LTE Layer 3 and Layer 2 integrated with Phluido’s virtualized Layer 1 and Benetel’s Remote Radio Unit (RRU). The RRU provides a platform that is capable of supporting both 4G and 5G networks. Network Equipment Provider (NEPs) can monetize the reference solution supported on General Purpose Processor (GPP) and RRU to provide LTE solutions leverage today’s cable network and future advancements.

Some analysts estimate that operators across the world could invest well over $20bn in virtualizing their networks. The virtualization of the RAN will help operators to scale their networks in line with customer demand and rapidly launch new features,” said N Mohan Rangan, Chief Engineering Officer at Aricent. “Deployed on the cloud, the solution can truly deliver the promise of 4G and 5G“.

Phluido has been at the forefront of the RAN virtualization and open fronthaul interfaces since 2014.” said Alan Barbieri, Phluido CEO. “We strongly believe that virtualization, disaggregation, and open interfaces are finally disrupting the traditional approach to deploy radio networks, and the live reference design showcased at the TIP Summit demonstrates such an advanced approach in a very challenging environment, with fronthaul over DOCSIS networks“.

The (RRU) Remote Radio Units, developed to support the functional Split 7-x, embrace a modular architecture with selectable features in keeping with the flexibility and versatility required by these end market applications. “We are extremely excited to participate in such a development “, said Adrian O’Connor, Benetel CEO, “This opportunity provides Benetel the chance to showcase a new line of innovative products and work alongside excellent partners and sponsors to deliver real market solutions.”

“As a trusted intermediary, we are truly excited to be the system integrator and the deployment partner for TIP’s RAN ecosystem. TIP RAN project groups are paving the way for a truly open, virtualized and dis-aggregated RAN which is critical for connecting the unconnected and for cost effective capacity augmentation in dense urban population areas. Open, virtualized and dis-aggregated RAN will be an essential building block of the 5G network and for enabling end-to-end network slicing” said Arunmozhi Balasubramanian, Senior VP, Network Services – Solutions & Strategy, Tech Mahindra.