A vRAN virtualizes network functions in the RAN and paves the way to cloud RAN functions, according to Alcatel-Lucent’s website. A vRAN includes virtualized baseband units (vBBUs), virtualized RAN control functions, and service delivery optimization.
The vRAN offering announced this week will integrate the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (REL) OpenStack Platform and Ceph storage. Advantech is supplying its high-density, carrier-grade blade server with switching infrastructure — the PAC-6009. And 6WIND will supply a variety of networking and security protocols.
Alcatel-Lucent is trialing its near-commercial vRAN with service providers in North America, Asia, and Europe.
Earlier this year, it trialed vRAN with China Mobile on the campus of Tsinghua Peking University. The project tested vRAN’s ability to adapt to network load balancing, improve spectral efficiency, reduce interference, and improve coordination of cell sites.
What’s Happening With CloudBand?
In 2016, Alcatel-Lucent will expand its vRAN trials using its CloudBand NFV platform to onboard and manage applications. CloudBand is Alcatel-Lucent’s carrier-grade NFV management and orchestration (MANO) platform purpose-built for service providers. It consists of the CloudBand node and management system.
In 2014, the company said CloudBand NFV was thriving, but we haven’t heard much about it since.
An Alcatel-Lucent spokeswoman says the CloudBand ecosystem now consists of 65 partners. “We have seven commercial contracts,” she says. “Each one is a different use case, and some are carrying live traffic. The customers have not been publicly announced.”
Radhesh Balakrishnan, Red Hat’s general manager of OpenStack, told SDxCentral a few months ago that Alcatel-Lucent and competitor Nokia have both built their NFV offerings based on Red Hat. “They’ve taken REL OpenStack for the NFV Layer 1 and taken our MANO to create CloudBand,” he said.