Altiostar Announces the General Availability of its Carrier Grade Virtualized RAN (vRAN) Solution

Ushering in the Dawn of a New Era in Radio Access Network

Tewksbury, Massachusetts, USA – December 14, 2015 – Altiostar announces the general availability of its game-changing Virtualized RAN solution, for the LTE and LTE-A market, based on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and open source software. A year ago, Altiostar announced its unique C-RAN solution with Ethernet fronthaul and a portfolio of macro and micro eNodeBs. Today’s announcement highlights the commercial availability and deployment readiness of its carrier-grade vRAN solution.

LTE networks are growing at an unprecedented pace around the globe, to meet the continued dramatic growth in data traffic. Three key driving factors are fueling this trend. First, the availability of large number of smartphones with falling prices, suitable for the mass-market adoption, with more than a billion users accessing the Internet for the first time on a smartphone. Second, the emergence of increasingly powerful devices capable of recording, storing, transmitting, receiving and playing back HD quality videos, resulting in an explosion of user-generated data traversing the mobile network. Third, the behavior of a diverse set of applications on these devices, causing dynamic and unpredictable network conditions that adversely affects user experience. The result? Increased traffic, with rapidly changing consumer behavior, coupled with an ever-higher expectation for better quality of experience, at a lower price. Now add into the mix the billions of devices connected to the Internet of Things, and the environment becomes even more unpredictable and challenging.

Conventional RAN products, which are deployed in LTE networks today, cannot scale and lack the intelligence to meet the demands of this dynamic environment. The hardware and software capacities are limited at each cell site, with no ability to scale and adapt without a forklift upgrade, or significant over-provisioning. The consequence is higher capital required to build the network and greater expense to operate it. Moreover, despite the higher cost, these products are not intelligent enough to adapt the application flows to the radio channel conditions, wasting spectrum resources and providing poor quality of experience during high traffic demands.

“Telecom operators have embraced virtualization as a tool for addressing new network demands and benefitting from IT efficiencies,” notes Peter Jarich, VP of Consumer and Infrastructure research at Current Analysis. “Altiostar’s vRAN launch – backed by testing and deployments – confirms that these benefits extend to the RAN.”

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a new era in LTE RAN deployment. Altiostar’s solution comprises of a radiohead and eNodeB software running on COTS hardware, with an open source NFV platform. The product has undergone extensive testing at several tier-1 operators’ labs and is already deployed in the field in commercial networks. The solution leverages OpenStack and KVM, with the necessary optimizations to make it a truly carrier-grade solution. Built on ETSI’s NFV architecture, it incorporates all the innovations from the open source community, with the optimizations of telecom-grade performance, reliability and availability.

“As the LTE market expands and LTE-A enhancements are deployed, the conventional RAN architecture and the legacy eNodeBs become rapidly obsolete. Scalability, capacity and user-experience are becoming the key criteria, while ARPU continues to fall due to intense competition. Our vRAN solution will help the operators transform their network and business models, while significantly reducing the total cost of ownership,” stated Ashraf M. Dahod, President and CEO of Altiostar.

The following are some of the key features of the Altiostar vRAN solution that are hitherto unheard of in the RAN space:

  • Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) hardware platform, for cost efficiency and scalability.
  • Elasticity in the RAN control plane, to adapt to dynamic Internet call-models.
  • Scalability in the data plane, with IO, CPU & Memory capacity on-demand.
  • Deployment of control and data plane hardware resources with software licenses to any cell site that needs them, rather than being locked to a single cell site.
  • Capability to absorb traffic spikes at any part of the network, without having to overprovision the sites.
  • C-RAN architecture, to support all LTE-A features.
  • Fully capable of supporting 5G concepts, such as network slicing, today.
  • Capability to integrate third-party applications and offer service chaining, via a programmable interface.
  • Fast and low risk service innovation capability that is significantly enhanced due to tight coupling with radio access resource management.
  • Live migration of VNFs, to facilitate “maintenance anytime”.
  • Dynamic scale-up and scale-down of VNFs, to automatically adjust to network load.
  • Geographic redundancy, to handle catastrophic failures.
  • Programmable intelligence at the edge, to improve network capacity while enhancing Quality of Experience for the end users.

“In a new operator survey we identified strong interest in virtual RAN deployment, with around one third of the progressive respondents expecting to deploy over the next two years,” said Heavy Reading senior analyst Gabriel Brown. “vRAN can help operators take advantage of the economics associated with commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and, perhaps more importantly over the long-term, operators want to use virtualization to implement more intelligent traffic processing in the RAN.”

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