Centralized RAN or C-RAN is an architectural shift in RAN (Radio Access Network) design, where the bulk of baseband processing is centralized and aggregated for a large number of distributed radio nodes. In comparison to standalone clusters of base stations, C-RAN provides significant performance and economic benefits such as baseband pooling, enhanced coordination between cells, virtualization, network extensibility, smaller deployment footprint and reduced power consumption.
Initially popularized by Japanese and South Korean mobile operators, C-RAN technology is beginning to gain momentum worldwide with major tier 1 operators – including Verizon Communications, AT&T, Sprint, China Mobile, Vodafone, TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile), Orange and Telefónica – seeking to leverage the benefits of centralized baseband processing.
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The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 24% between 2017 and 2020. These investments will include spending on RRHs (Remote Radio Heads), BBUs (Baseband Units) and fronthaul transport network equipment.
The “C-RAN (Centralized Radio Access Network) Ecosystem: 2017 – 2030 – Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts” report presents an in-depth assessment of the C-RAN ecosystem including enabling technologies, key trends, market drivers, challenges, standardization, regulatory landscape, deployment models, operator case studies, opportunities, future roadmap, value chain, ecosystem player profiles and strategies. The report also presents forecasts for C-RAN infrastructure investments from 2017 till 2030. The forecasts cover 3 individual submarkets and 6 regions.
The report comes with an associated Excel datasheet suite covering quantitative data from all numeric forecasts presented in the report.
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The report has the following key findings:
• Expected to reach nearly $9 Billion in global spending by the end of 2017, C-RAN is increasingly becoming the preferred approach to deploy future mobile networks. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 24% between 2017 and 2020.
• Small cells are also beginning to be deployed in a C-RAN architecture to leverage the benefits of resource pooling and multi-cell coordination. This trend is particularly prevalent in the indoor and enterprise segments, with a number of dedicated vendor solutions such as CommScope’s OneCell, SpiderCloud’s E-RAN, Ericsson’s Radio Dot, and Huawei’s LampSite.
• Mobile operators are exploring multiple baseband functional split options for C-RAN implementation, as they seek to ease the transition to 5G networks while reducing fronthaul costs.
• By the end of 2020, vRAN/Cloud RAN deployments with virtualized baseband processing will account for nearly 20% of all C-RAN investments.
• The vendor arena is continuing to consolidate with several prominent M&A deals such as Mavenir Systems’ recent merger with C-RAN specialist Ranzure Networks, which has positioned the company as an end-to-end provider of 5G-ready mobile network solutions.
Key Questions Answered
The report provides answers to the following key questions:
1. How big is the C-RAN opportunity?
2. What trends, challenges and barriers are influencing its growth?
3. How is the ecosystem evolving by segment and region?
4. What will the market size be in 2020 and at what rate will it grow?
5. Which submarkets will see the highest percentage of growth?
6. How can C-RAN facilitate the management of interference and LTE-Advanced features such as CoMP (Coordinated Multi-Point)?
7. What are the benefits and drawbacks of each baseband functional split option?
8. How can C-RAN reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of RAN deployments?
9. What are the prospects of wireless fronthaul technologies?
10. Is Ethernet a feasible solution for fronthaul networking?
11. How big is the market for vRAN/Cloud RAN networks?
12. How can mobile operators future-proof their RAN investments for 5G upgrades?
13. Who are the key market players and what are their strategies?
14. What strategies should C-RAN solution providers and mobile operators adopt to remain competitive?
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