Cloud RAN Fronthaul Network Technologies RAN

Malaysian towerco moves into C-RAN with Nokia fronthaul

Malaysian infrastructure operator edotco is supporting network operators’ moves to Cloud-RAN, adopting a fronthaul solution which Nokia announced at this year’s Mobile World Congress.

This extends wave division multiplexing (WDM) capability – which increases fiber capacity by combining multiple wavelengths on one fiber – to non-WDM-capable network elements.

The Translation Line Unit (TLU) can provide colorization of the optics to WDM without having to touch the RAN optics so edotco can use existing assets to cluster baseband units together. It will provide the fiber for multiple MNOs to connect their basebands to its infrastructure.

Nokia added the TLU to its fronthaul portfolio in February, along with its 1830 Versatile WDM module, which promises to support all data rates for CPRI and OBSAI connections, and to come with end-to-end operations, administration and maintenance tools, including active network management for passive optical systems. The Finnish vendor claims WDM reduces capex by up to one-third compared to dark fiber.

Using Nokia Mobile Fronthaul Solution, based on the 1830 module, edotco’s operator clients can connect new or existing radio equipment into the fiber network, while edotco can pass on the lower costs of using existing links rather than new dark fiber. It provides the fronthaul links plus a base station hotel facility on its towers, which aggregates traffic from the different operators’ basebands.

Managing director Wan Zainal Adileen said: “Our customers are under constant pressure to meet increasing mobile broadband demands, and this creates tremendous pressure on our network infrastructure. In this environment, mobile operators are looking for new and innovative ways to increase network capacity and coverage, whilst achieving lower total cost of ownership. Nokia’s fronthaul platform gives us the flexibility to deploy assets efficiently by building a common shared infrastructure to reduce costs, in turn enabling our customers to migrate to a more simple and cost effective centralized RAN architecture.”

The Nokia/edotco system is designed to interwork with any RAN equipment without altering RAN optics; to increase fiber utilization while reducing costs by using WDM on existing links, not dark fiber; and to reduce network hardware footprint in space-constrained areas.

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