NSN and Intel team up to push IT media functions into the base station with the NSN Radio Applications Cloud Server (RACS). This is another example of converging Telco and IT functions and points to Software Defined Networking gaining momentum.
With a server in the base station several considerations arise:
1. The Flexi Multiradio10 integration provides differentiated performance advantage.
2. A Multi-vendor network solution will require a server box instance without the intimate hardware integration.
3. For multi-vendor networks, one question that will arise is “why not a white-box?”
4. A server in the base station is part of the “data center without walls” (I borrow this phrase from Ciena).
5. This should evolve as part of an SDN network.
6. Where is the economic optimum location in the network – in the base station or near the base station in a local mini-data center?
The generally accepted direction of 4G is to move data closer to the subscriber for both performance reasons and to enable new revenue opportunities that come with the improved performance. The main challenges facing this particular instance concern SDN and the question of where – at the base station or in a local data center. The general approach directionally leads the industry evolution, and time will reveal the market’s embrace.