Telstra and Ericsson announced the first Ericsson Cloud RAN 5G data call on Telstra's commercial network. The landmark technology trial is the first time Ericsson's Cloud RAN Radio Access Network (RAN) virtualization technology has been trialed in a commercial network in the southern hemisphere. According to Ericsson, Cloud RAN is a viable option for communications service providers (CSPs) to have increased flexibility, faster delivery of services, and greater scalability in networks.
Iskra Nikolova, Telstra's Network and Infrastructure Executive, said: "Telstra's ongoing partnership with Ericsson has reached another new milestone this week with the first 5G Cloud RAN data call over our commercial network utilizing Ericsson's industry-leading Cloud RAN technology. This achievement clears the way for the wider deployment of Ericsson's Cloud RAN technology, which will enable the full benefits of 5G for Telstra's customers across Australia."
According to Ericsson, the virtualization of the RAN baseband will provide Telstra with increased flexibility, faster delivery of services, and more efficient network operations.
Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson, Australia and New Zealand, said: "Ericsson's Cloud RAN technology is a key enabler of 5G-as-a-service-based architecture and supports Telstra's move towards the widespread virtualization and automation of its network infrastructure. This Australia first Cloud RAN trial further demonstrates the industry leading innovation made possible by Ericsson's ongoing partnership with Telstra while marking the next step in the transformation of Australia's largest mobile network."
Ericsson Router 6673
The trial used Ericsson's latest packet front-haul technology, based on the Ericsson Router 6673. Packet fronthaul technology allows existing site radios to be connected to the centralized Cloud RAN solution using eCPRI (enhanced CPRI).
Ericsson's Cloud RAN Technology Architecture
Instead of a strategy that would centralize the CU (centralized unit) and leave the DU (distributed unit) at the base station site, Telstra's deployment of Ericsson's Cloud RAN technology uses an architecture in which both the CU (centralized unit) and DU (distributed unit) baseband functions are centralized.
This architecture helps Telstra achieve more efficient utilization of computing resources leading to improved cost and capacity outcomes.
Verizon Deploys VRAN Sites
In the meantime, Verizon, a US mobile network operator, and Ericsson recently expanded their virtualized radio access network (VRAN). As the relationship grows, Verizon will try to virtualize the whole network, from the core to the far Edge, to increase network flexibility, speed service delivery, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. Verizon coordinated with many ecosystem partners to welcome Ericsson's first virtualized cell site.
Ericsson, with its Cloud RAN, plus support from Intel and RedHat, will help drive Verizon's VRAN efforts. Verizon currently has 8,000 cell sites virtualized in its network, with plans to virtualize 20,000 sites by the end of 2025.