Mobile Experts LLC released a report on Cloud RAN implementation, titled CRAN and VRAN 2016. This year, the Mobile Experts team has been able to identify some encouraging signs, with tests that prove the technical feasibility of virtual machines running the entire LTE stack.

"In our analysis, we have been able to identify the key technical steps which make RAN Virtualization possible," explained Joe Madden, Principal Analyst at Mobile Experts. "The timeline for virtualization that we predicted a few years ago is on track from a technical point of view. This year's analysis also points out some key issues with Cloud RAN implementation in key LTE deployments worldwide from a business view, virtualization will find fertile soil in some networks, while other operators will wait for 5G before full implementation."

"We've highlighted a third option in this year's report, introducing the concept of a 'Hybrid RAN' to indicate partial virtualization," explained Frank Rayal, the lead author (XONA Partners collaborated with Mobile Experts LLC for this report). "While some timing-sensitive baseband processing tasks will remain in the radio head, other tasks will be centralized and virtualized over the next three years. We've illustrated a timeline for how the industry should expect the roll-out to take place."

Mr. Madden continued, "We've also included cost-benefit analysis for Centralized RAN and Virtualized RAN, to illustrate how operators can save significant CAPEX and OPEX in deployment. It's clear that mobile operators can save money through the use of Virtualization, and we can clearly illustrate how that can happen."

This 100-page report includes 79 charts and diagrams, with deep technical details on how Virtualization will work in real-world networks.

Subscribers to Mobile Experts research will receive this report along with forecasts of the macro base station and/or small cell market and the popular Mobile Experts Expert INSIGHT articles. 5G subscribers will receive a series of reports which extend the analysis of Hybrid Virtualized RAN into the next generation of base station deployment.

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