The two companies trialed Cloud RAN technology to prepare for the eventual introduction of a distributed cloud architecture for 5G by Orange. A distributed, cloud-based radio access network architecture like Nokia's AirScale Cloud RAN provides capacity where needed and prepares the network for the deployment of new 5G access technology as part of a multi-layered architecture.
The trial took place from March to the beginning of May in Poland, with radio sites in the city of Chelm and the virtualised part of the baseband running in a data centre in Lublin, around 70 km away. As a result, Nokia's AirScale Cloud Base Station provided equally strong network performance on both Nokia's reference cloud infrastructure and on Orange's own cloud environment.
Nokia's architecture splits baseband processing functionality across the radio cell sites and data center using its AirScale Cloud Base Station. Time-critical functions are performed at the cell site and connected via Ethernet fronthaul - allowing the operator to use its existing transport network - while centralized software hosted at the data center cost-efficiently performs non real-time functions.
Nokia AirScale Cloud RAN provides the flexibility needed for future services and requirements for 5G, Internet of Things, low latency services and end-to-end slicing.
About the trial
- Nokia AirScale Cloud Base Station, a virtual base station for 4G and 5G, running 4G technology via Ethernet fronthaul
- Orange's NGPop cloud infrastructure
- Nokia AirFrame Data Center platform designed to meet stringent radio access capacity, performance and latency requirements
- Nokia Cloud Infrastructure for Radio/Real Time
- Nokia NetAct monitoring Cloud RAN and classical RAN in the commercial network
Piotr Jaworski, CTO of Orange Poland, said: "During this trial, Orange Poland has successfully trialed virtualized RAN architectures in collaboration with Nokia and investigated the impact on network operations. The quality and performance observed during the trial give confidence on the RAN virtualisation and is a critical step for us towards 5G."