The term Internet of Things was first coined 18 years ago. Today, it is a global phenomenon at the center of the next generation of digital innovation. But its future is not yet assured as IoT needs a robust infrastructure and backend applications able to support the billions of devices that are being connected to the internet.
From the time of its conceptualization, Long Term Evolution (LTE) has been positioned as a distributed and flat architecture whose strength lies in its simplicity. However, it wasn’t long before tech titans started acknowledging the benefits, perhaps even the need, for centralization in the LTE stack even if it violated the initial premise. This is where Cloud RAN, also referred to as C-RAN or Centralized RAN, brings value to the table. Wikipedia defines C-RAN as “[A] centralized, cloud-based architecture for radio access networks that supports 2G, 3G, 4G and future wireless communication standards”. C-RAN comprises centralized baseband units (BBU) and distributed remote radio heads (RRH) connected through high-capacity, low-latency links. Put more succinctly, the C-RAN architecture involves splitting the baseband processing between RRH and BBU functions, preferably running the latter on commodity servers in a virtualized environment with the intent of optimizing cost while offering easily-scalable solutions.
NFV (Network Function Virtualization) is a transformative technology whose advent has been highly anticipated for 3 years now. NFVManagement and Orchestration (NFV MANO), in turn, is the heart and brain of the NFV architecture. In this blog, I’ll start with a high level description of the NFV MANO architecture followed by challenges that the industry faces in adopting this architecture.
Every organization that builds software products and/or services has been striving to develop new offerings for (or move existing ones to) the cloud, lately.
Start-ups and small organizations see it as an obvious choice, or rather the only viable option, since it helps them save the upfront set-up costs of infrastructure and maintenance, and reduce the time-to-market significantly. Larger organizations with well-established products/services see it as an opportunity to offer greater flexibility and cost efficiency to their customers, hence making their products more competitive and future-safe. It is a win-win proposition for all stakeholders – OEMs, vendors, service providers and customers.