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etisalat by e& and Nokia successfully completed multiple cloud RAN (Radio Access Network) trials for the first time in the MEA region. These trials contribute to network innovation and agility, empowering operators and enterprises to enhance performance within the 5G ecosystem utilizing etisalat by e&’s existing mid-band carrier in the n78 (3.5GHz) band over its 5G standalone network. The focus on ultra-reliable and low-latency communications underscores the commitment to advancing the capabilities of the network infrastructure.

The Adoption of Cloud RAN

As 5G networks evolve towards a cloud-native architecture, one of the enablers of this evolution is the adoption of Cloud RAN. These trials represent a significant milestone in RAN innovation and openness. They facilitate interoperation between cellular network equipment offered by various vendors, emphasizing a move towards greater interoperability and flexibility within the telecommunications landscape.

During the trial, Nokia's virtualized Distributed Unit (vDU) and virtualized Centralized Unit (vCU) operated on the HPE ProLiant DL110 Gen11 server, utilizing In-Line acceleration. This approach delivered distinct advantages, including enhanced power efficiency, scalability, flexibility, feature parity, cloud nativeness, lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and ease of integration into diverse server and cloud environments.

The Nokia anyRAN approach provides the capability to establish virtualized networks with customized performance characteristics suited to the diverse requirements of various applications. This plays a pivotal role in advancing sustainability initiatives within Industry 4.0, enterprise, and private networks. This enriches Etisalat’s portfolio, offering flexibility in choosing cloud infrastructure software, hardware, and technology suppliers.

Marwan bin Shakar, Senior Vice President, Access Network Development, etisalat by e&, said, “We are excited to announce our successful proof of concepts (PoC) of Cloud RAN solutions. This is a great milestone in the journey of innovation within our industry to leverage the inter-operability and tailored nature of Cloud RAN; as we further embrace our commitment to provide our customers with the latest in digital innovations and enhanced experiences. The Cloud RAN solution will allow us to further innovate our services to expand into different real-time applications and provide the best solutions with high-speeds and lower latencies.”

Mark Atkinson, Head of RAN at Nokia, said, “This important trial with etisalat by e& highlights the maturity of our anyRAN approach using Cloud RAN with In-Line accelerator architecture. Nokia’s approach ensures performance consistency between Cloud RAN and purpose-built RAN and provides our customers with more choice and flexibility. Our solution will empower etisalat by e& to meet diverse market demands swiftly, delivering a future-proof 5G network that will enable innovative services through dynamic network slicing and automation.”

Also read: A Leader in MEA: e& Hailed as Fastest-Growing Tech Brand, Most Valuable Brand

Dual Functionality Enhances Scalability

Cloud RAN, a novel radio access technology rooted in centralized cloud computing, offers significant advantages to both network operators and end users. It provides the flexibility of deploying the Radio Access Network (RAN) on the same infrastructure used for running other cloud-based applications. This dual functionality enhances operational efficiency and adaptability in managing network resources while supporting diverse cloud services.

This approach offers scalability in response to varying traffic demands, ensuring cost-efficiency over the long term by optimizing both capital and operational expenses. Additionally, it enhances power efficiency, fostering innovation within the 5G ecosystem. This combination of scalability, cost-effectiveness, and power efficiency contributes to the advancement and sustainability of 5G technologies.

Also read: etisalat by e& Completes the World's First Ultra-High-Speed 1.6Tbps Optical Solution Trial

Cloud RAN enables the use of open and interoperable RAN interfaces alongside cloud-based software solutions for the baseband computing system. The baseband computing functionality is split into a Distributed Unit (DU) and a Centralized Unit (CU). The Centralized Unit is fully cloud-native, allowing for the utilization of ‘Commercial-off-the-Shelf' (COTS) servers. This architectural design enhances flexibility and efficiency by leveraging standardized, readily-available server hardware.

Additionally, etisalat by e& successfully tested and verified the performance of another crucial element related to Hardware Acceleration Technology in CloudRAN. This element, known as lookaside and In-line acceleration, specifically addresses the L1 physical layer processing, showcasing advancements in optimizing and accelerating essential processing tasks.

Also read: etisalat by e& Attains Crucial Milestone in Global 5G MmWave Deployment

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