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New Frontiers in C-RAN Fronthaul: to CPRI, or to not CPRI?

March 28, 2017
IHS Markit, Anritsu, Fujitsu & Nokia

Fronthaul has a fundamental role in the development of radio access networks (RANs), from centralized RANs to cloud RANs and beyond, but what are the challenges of moving to such C-RANs? And while vendors have leaned toward the Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) standard for fronthaul connections, CPRI-based links may not be the right fit as the 5G network of cloud-optimized RAN evolves. How does CPRI relate to fronthaul technologies such as WDM and optical Ethernet; and what alternative standards are emerging? How can fronthaul adapt to the demands of co-existing 4G and 5G networks; and what impact do technology choices have on deployment applications and new service opportunities?