What is it?
A Radio Access Network (RAN) is part of a cellular communications network, and connects a user’s mobile phone or other wireless User Equipment (UE) to the telecommunications operator’s Core Network (CN). The CN then provides the user access to other users on the same network, to different operators’ networks or to the Internet. The basic infrastructure of a RAN consists of base stations (radio transceivers) which connect to UE via radio waves.
Why do you need it?
In order for your cell phone to connect to another user on the network or the Internet, it must first connect via a RAN. A RAN not only provides network access but also assists to coordinate network resources across wireless devices. RAN technology has been constantly evolving - at the beginning of cellular networks, a RAN only supported basic voice call functionality, but later was upgraded to support data transmission. With the arrival of 5G, a RAN will now support technologies such as Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) and network slicing, enabling the high bandwidth and low latency transmission capabilities that make 5G so powerful.
How is GIGABYTE helpful?
A typical base station of a RAN will consist of two components: a Radio Frequency Processing Unit (RFU), which is basically a radio antenna mounted on a high tower or pole, and a Baseband Processing Unit (BBU) at the base of the antenna connected to the RFU via optical fiber, which processes radio waves from the antenna and converts them to digital signals. Traditionally a BBU has been a specialized piece of network equipment, however with the introduction of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), these hardware functions can be converted into software that can be run on off-the-shelf server systems. GIGABYTE has released a range of compact, high density edge server systems (such as our H242 Series) which are ideal to be deployed as a BBU in a new 5G RAN.