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  • Dr Chih-Lin I
    Dr Chih-Lin I
    China Mobile Research Institute
  • Merouane Debbah
    Merouane Debbah
  • Gilad Garon
    Gilad Garon
  • Nurit Sprecher
    Nurit Sprecher
    Nokia Solutions and Networks
  • Dominique Pichon
    Dominique Pichon
    Orange Labs
  • Paolo Volpato
    Paolo Volpato
  • Philippe Sehier
    Philippe Sehier
  • Loutfi Nuaymi
    Loutfi Nuaymi
    Telecom Bretagne
  • Caroline Gabriel
    Caroline Gabriel
    Maravedis Rethink
  • Philip Lamoureux
    Philip Lamoureux
    Juniper Networks
  • Navid Nikaein
    Navid Nikaein

Event partner


Cloud RAN: Virtualizing the Radio Access Network

RAN virtualization has attracted substantial attention in both academia and industry recently. It is considered to be a candidate for future RAN evolution due to its flexibility, reduced time to market and low R&D cost. The introduction of both LTE-A, hetnets and cloud/centralized RAN applications is posing several new requirements to the backhaul network and possibly drive the evolution towards new network architectures. On one hand the centralization of the BBU processing imposes the introduction of fronthaul topologies, with heavy implications on the infrastructure of a traditional backhaul network.

On the other hand operators are still engaged with the deployment of packet-based backhaul networks to support the migration from previous generations of mobile services (e.g. 2G/3G) to LTE.


If the virtualization concept can be utilized in a base station system, the operator can dynamically allocate processing resources within a centralized baseband pool to different virtualized base stations and different air interface standards. This allows the operator to efficiently support the variety of air interfaces, and adjust to the tide effects in different areas and fluctuating demands. At the same time, the common hardware platform will provide cost effectiveness to manage, maintain, expand and upgrade the base station.

In such a scenario, a base station can be easily built up through the flexible resource combination. The real time virtualized OS would adjust, allocate and re-allocate resources based on each virtualized base station requirements, in order to meet its demands.

Which business model?

While many operators are interested in the C-RAN architecture, they remain uncertain about the business model, and particularly the return on investment on a major shift in platform. Are the cost, efficiency and revenue advantages which have been outlined by early adopters applicable to all operators?

Moreover, adopting a new network architecture can be a trigger for operators to make other changes, such as network sharing or outsourcing. C-RANs are complex to build and run, and involve many IT skills, so some carriers will adopt a managed services approach. Traditionally, network equipment providers have taken over the management of oursourced networks, but other parties - integrators, wholesalers and IT vendors - are also competing for the projects now.

What are the main technical chalenges to overcome?
What are the current main industrial developments?
What are the alternatives to C-RAN?
What are the risks of outsourcing the management of a C-RAN?

Responses will be delivered during the Cloud RAN Conference, to be held in Novotel Convention & Wellness Paris Roissy CDG, from 20 to 22 May, 2014.

The conference agenda is now available online

Scientific committee

Caroline Gabriel, Research Director, Maravedis-Rethink
Dominique Pichon, Orange
Philippe Sehier, Alcatel-Lucent
Gilad Garon, ASOCS
Prof. Mérouane Debbah, SupElec
Loutfi Nuaymi, Télécom Bretagne
Ravikanth Pasumarathy, Aricent
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