26 Feb 2018

Dali Wireless introduces fronthaul for 5G

Cellular fronthaul specialist Dali Wireless has launched of its second-generation Dali Matrix Virtual Fronthaul Interface, vFI.

This has been developed in response to increased interest from a variety of operators who need far greater flexibility in updating their networks for 5G. Virtualized fronthaul will be a key element in the new deployments because it enables operators to partition their networks far more effectively and this leads to greater levels of efficiency.

A further advantage is that it enables considerable cost reductions because it allows generic processing platforms to be used with function specific software to define what is required. This facilitates the network utilization of the resources it needs in any given location at any time from a more centralized capability.

The Dali second-generation vFI is built on the company’s core vFI platform which allows any baseband resource to be routed to any remote radio unit (RRU), similar to how IP data packets are routed in the data network.

Dali has been able to virtualize the fronthaul aspects of network by using software configurable translation, aggregation and routing. This allows the use of the open RAN capability so that radio heads virtual base band units from multiple manufacturers can be used.

The radio head requires a simple data interface and this can easily be included, thereby allowing the data to be accepted from anywhere on the data network.

Dali’s second generation vFI takes this one step further. By adding fronthaul protocol translation to the platform, Dali’s vFI gives operators the flexibility to mix-and-match different fronthaul protocols, vendors, and technologies so that the most appropriate RAN elements can be selected to deliver the board scope of 5G applications in the most cost-effective way.

“While the applications and use cases of 5G are no doubt very exciting, it is important to remember that 5G is yet another network rollout for mobile network operators” said Nick Marshall, Research Director, ABI Research. “Having the ability to connect any baseband unit to any remote radio unit, regardless of vendor and fronthaul protocol is a very important step to unbundling the RAN, and creating the more flexible and open RAN essential for 5G’s success. Dali Wireless’ Virtual Fronthaul Interface can enable a more open RAN, giving mobile operators globally a better tool to deliver on the promises of 5G.”

Vendor and protocol agnostic signal routing in the fronthaul is an important step to unbundling the RAN and creating a more flexible open framework needed for 5G. Dali’s vFI supports translation between different protocols including CPRI, eCPRI, RoE, and Ethernet enabling seamless communication between RAN elements provided by different vendors. An open RAN eliminates vendor lock-in, reduces total cost of ownership, and ultimately futureproofs the RAN architecture. Any-to-Any fronthaul connectivity also contributes to sophisticated end-to-end network slicing, and helps operators migrate to 5G networks in a more cost-effective and efficient way while providing maximum investment protection for legacy networks.

“Cost has always been the Achilles heel for any network rollout. At a time when 4G infrastructure expansion continues to grow and 5G hardware is set to drive up CAPEX even further, operators need an open, and cost-effective way to manage the requirements of the countless use cases 5G is set to deliver,” said Albert Lee, CEO of Dali Wireless. “An open RAN, eliminates challenges associated with proprietary RAN hardware solutions and helps to create a more competitive and innovative ecosystem. Open RAN enabled by Dali vFI will help mobile operators cost-effectively modernize their networks while protecting the investment in their 2G, 3G and 4G networks.”

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