Delivering a “White Box” Future for the Base-station

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By Jake Saunders | 3Q 2018 | IN-5196


Opening up the Base Station


The cellular Radio Access Network (RAN) has evolved dramatically over the past 20 years. A wide range of macro and small cell solutions have been introduced into the market that can be deployed in a greenfield location, on the rooftop of a commercial building, as well as with low-profile, pole site-type solutions. Also, the number of RAN vendors has also evolved remarkably. From around 10 to 15 national and regional infrastructure vendors, the list has contracted to essentially 4 vendors: Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE.

The mobile operator community, however, is concerned about the level of competition in the wireless telco infrastructure marketplace. Mobile service providers are under considerable pressure to not only introduce new services to boost revenues but also cut Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and Operating Expenditure (OPEX) to improve profit margins. By making the base station more of a “white box”, that is to say, more modular and inter-operable, the mobile operators behind the Open RAN (O-RAN) initiative believe they can stimulate competiti…

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