Innovative Virtual RAN Architecture Prepares Carriers for 5G

Add Capacity with Off-the-Shelf Hardware to Maximize Spectrum Resources

Tewksbury, Massachusetts, USA – April 26, 2016 – Spectrum is an inherently limiting factor to communications service providers; it’s expensive, there’s a finite amount available, and regulation mechanisms can make coordinated spectrum deployments a challenge.

Massachusetts-based Altiostar is tackling this problem by bringing innovation to the RAN by adding intelligence—processing, storage and higher bandwidth—and virtualizing the radio.

Altiostar President and CEO Ashraf M. Dahod explained: “It’s very easy to add intelligence using commercial, off-the-shelf hardware. That really is the essence of Altiostar–to take non-intelligent radios, make them intelligent, and improve the efficiency of the radio. That drove us into creating a virtualized RAN.

This innovative type of architecture reduces the size and power consumption of radio equipment, which is located close to antennas and connected over Ethernet to signal processing units. In short, devices can be centralized in a remote location and exist on virtual servers rather than expensive, dedicated boxes.

“It’s a much more efficient use of the hardware resources, and

[enables operators]to use commercial, off-the-shelf hardware that can scale using Moore’s Law. It allows the operators to add greater and greater capacity at a lower and lower cost.”

Altiostar works with Tier 1 operators around the world, including with TIM, owned by Telecom Italia, which provides fixed and mobile telephony services in Italy.

TIM and Altiostar worked together to test vRAN support for LTE-Advanced features, which largely depend on increasing throughput and eliminating inter-cell interference. And while this technology provides immediate benefits to LTE networks, carriers can invest now in technology that will support an ultimate 5G standard. TIM VP of Engineering and Group Labs Gabriela Styf Sjöman discussed the partnership with Altiostar during the 2016 Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain

She explained that, as TIM looks to roll out LTE-Advanced and prepare for 5G, centralization allows for increased capacity and quality of experience, which is a key performance indicator for operators pressured to combat customer churn

Styf Sjöman told RCR Wireless News the work with Altiostar is “extremely important in the journey of our transformation…toward full network automation. When we talk about automation, it’s really, fully end-to-end, so starting from the radio access becomes extremely critical.”

“Quality of experience is key,” she said. “Virtualization is part of that to also increase performance, but also to do so in a sustainable way, to build networks that will enable us to differentiate how we use the network based on more of a service-aware network. Virtualization becomes extremely critical…because by virtualizing the baseband, we will be able to integrate key functions such as SON, caching and more.”

Dahod explained that Altiostar wants to help customers solve problems they face today around high-bandwidth applications like mobile video, while future-proofing networks for the explosion of data that will come as the the Internet of Things, bolstered by 5G, takes shape.

“We already have the foundation to allow operators to go to 5G,” he said. “They’ll be able to add a lot of value-added software that will allow them to solve many of the challenges that they will face with the Internet of Things, with a dramatic increase in the number of subscribers or end points, also dramatic continued growth in video.”

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