Wireless networks face major challenges ahead as mobile broadband and digital applications continue to develop at an explosive rate. Different applications and use cases are emerging on a daily basis, each with vastly different requirements for data rates (ranging from Kbps to Gbps) and latency (ranging from milliseconds to seconds). Traffic hotspots are getting hotter and more difficult to predict. Deploying new generations of radio access technology (RAT) across an entire network is as cumbersome as ever, which hinders user adoption, slows down the development of new services, and undermines user experience. All of these factors raise the bar for network capabilities and operations.
With a whole host of challenges looming ahead, full network cloudification is the most viable option to build highly efficient networks and maintain competitive agility. To fully leverage the benefits of the cloud, wireless networks need end-to-end cloudification, from wireless access architecture to air interface.
To start with, cloudifying RAN architecture can help carriers achieve complete flexibility from topology to resource allocation. Future applications will have widely varied requirements for different network layers. Function virtualization, resource cloudification, and flexible orchestration will address these requirements as needed. Separate layers for real-time and non-real-time resource management can help strike the right balance between distributed and centralized management.
In addition to RAN architecture, cloudifying air interface resources like spectrum, power, and channels paves the way for flexible network rollout and better user experience. Spectrum cloudification allows different radio access technologies (RATs) to share the same spectrum, dynamically allocating frequencies based on fluctuations in traffic. This maximizes spectral efficiency and helps carriers get new RATs online faster to ensure seamless nationwide coverage. It also enables on-demand access to legacy RATs based on real-time service needs, a cost-effective way to protect investment in existing networks while preventing legacy RATs from occupying golden spectrum for excessive periods of time.
Power and channel cloudification also come with their own set of unique benefits. Power cloudification supports inter-carrier, inter-RAT, inter-band, inter-site power sharing, and on-demand allocation, whereas channel cloudification helps coordinate transmission and reception among the antenna resources of multiple sites around users, effectively transforming interference into gain.
Huawei’s All Cloud mobile network strategy has received wide recognition in the industry, with 3GPP accepting its proposed spectrum sharing mechanism in a standards meeting back in January of this year. Across the industry, leading carriers have recently doubled down on their investment in the mobile cloud sector, reaffirming their commitment to expediting research, development, and commercialization.
Building All Cloud mobile network will take close concerted effort between all industry partners. Throughout this process, Huawei is committed to open partnerships that promote shared success. In this way, we can help mobile operators maximize the value of their networks and optimize user experience in the most cost-effective way possible.
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