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. Although Japan and South Korea continue to spearhead commercial C-RAN investments, interest is also growing in other parts of the world. Mobile operators such as China Mobile, Orange, Verizon and Sprint are already investing in the technology.
Global investments on C-RAN architecture networks will reach over $7 Billion by the end of 2016. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 20% between 2016 and 2020. These investments will include spending on RRHs (Remote Radio Heads), BBUs (Baseband Units) and front haul transport networking gear. The “C-RAN (Centralized Radio Access Network) Ecosystem: 2016 – 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 2016 till 2030. The forecasts cover 3 individual submarkets and 6 regions.
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– Expected to surpass $7 Billion in global spending by the end of 2016, C-RAN is increasingly becoming the preferred approach to deploy future mobile networks for both macro and small cell coverage. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 20% between 2016 and 2020.
– To alleviate stringent fronthaul requirements, an increasing number of C-RAN solutions are now utilizing RRHs with baseband capabilities, allowing some intelligence (primarily Layer 1 and Layer 2) to be distributed among RRHs, with Layer 3 functionality residing at centralized BBUs.
– The ongoing 5G race is expected to significantly boost C-RAN investments over the coming years. SNS Research estimates that over $1 Billion of all C-RAN architecture network investments will be directed towards 5G networks by the end of 2020.
– At present, most virtualized Cloud RAN investments are limited to trials and demonstrations. However, by the end of 2020, we expect that virtualized BBUs will account for over 6% of all C-RAN BBU investments.
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