NEC Corp. and Intel Corp. will collaborate to jointly develop the Cloud-Radio Access Network (Cloud-RAN) solution for virtualizing the functions of mobile base stations. Both companies will start a joint proof of concept trial from early 2016 to verify the capabilities of the Cloud-RAN solution.
Mobile base stations are comprised of a Digital Unit (DU) that handles data processing and a Radio Unit (RU) that sends and receives radio waves. The Cloud-RAN solution separates the DU functions from mobile base stations, and enables the functions to be run on general-purpose servers equipped with Intel's multi-core processors. This makes it possible to centralize the DU functions, allowing for multiple units of the RU to be centrally controlled from one general-purpose server.
The solution improves the communication performance of mobile base stations through more precise control of radio interference between the RUs, while cutting down on power and space consumption by consolidating the DU hardware. This in turn contributes to a reduction in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of base station equipment.
"We have been working with Intel on the virtualization of mobile core networks and customer premises equipment (CPE) and are very pleased to extend our collaboration in Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) to mobile base stations," said Nozomu Watanabe, General Manager, Mobile Radio Access Network Division, NEC Corporation. "Looking forward, NEC will further strengthen its relationship with Intel for the advancement of NFV, which is the core technology supporting 5G and other forms of next generation wireless communication."
NEC is one of the world's leaders in Software Defined Networking (SDN) and NFV. It actively contributes to various SDN/NFV related standards bodies and industry communities such as the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), OpenDaylight, ETSI NFV, and Open Platform for NEV (OPNFV).
It also runs the NEC SDN Partner Space partnership program to promote the development and introduction of applications and solutions utilizing network virtualization technologies, working closely with more than 40 partner companies.