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Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN) Market -Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2017 – 2025

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Centralized-RAN or cloud radio access network (C-RAN) is one of the evolving technology in wireless industry. C-RAN architecture is improved version of traditional distributed base station system which is supporting 2G, 3G, 4G and other wireless connections. C-RAN uses coarse or dense wavelength division multiplexing (CWDM/ DWDM) technology and common public radio interface (CPRI) standard to allow transmission of baseband signal over large distance obtaining scale centralized station deployment. It applies technology which are existing in data center network to allow high reliability, low latency high bandwidth and low cost network in the baseband unit (BBU) pool. In C-RAN, radio access network (RAN) is the tool which is connected to cellular antennas to processes the signal and to send them to the central network. As the demand for connectivity has increased, telecom operators need to minimize the cost of their equipment. C-RAN reduces the operating cost by providing the flexibility of allocating resources at different locations. It is achieved by keeping the processing power away from the antennas and nearer to the core as a centralized pool of resources. This allows the utilization of software define networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) by pooling network resources as needed. If traffic increases, there is increased access to processing power. If traffic recedes, the network resource utilization decreases concurrently. This concept of network elasticity allows operators for network sharing. This is a major advantage of using C-RAN technology.

Deployment of cloud-RAN architectures allow mobile operators to meet increasing requirements concerning data rates, latency and traffic volume through the use of network functions virtualization (NFV) techniques. These factors are also achieved through data center processing capabilities in networks, which provides resource pooling, layer interworking, scalability and spectral effectiveness. It utilizes open platforms and real-time virtualization technology existing in cloud computing to accomplish support of multi-vendor, dynamic shared resource allocation and multi-technology environments. Advantages of implementing C-RAN offers the ability to share resources, reuse infrastructure, support multiple technologies and simplify network operations. It helps in reducing energy consumption, lower operating expenditures (opex) and lower capital expenditures). Moreover, the network becomes more varied and self-organizing. Once implemented, the C-RAN will provide benefits such as easier and faster deployment of network and enhanced network flexibility. Thus, requirements to operate networks at low cost and to obtain high performance are expected to drive the market during the forecast period.

C-RAN implementation requires small latencies between the RRH and BBU pool or the front-haul.  These low latencies usually require fiber links at sites which is major challenge for few operators. It also requires software to interconnect all of the BBUs in the server and manage the complex functions in the virtual cloud. Government policies and standards related to security are expected to be the major restraints for the C-RAN market as different nations have different regulatory policies. These varying regulatory policies, along with fluctuating macroeconomic factors are expected to restrain the market.  A major challenge which lies in implementation of C-RAN network is security in terms of user privacy and trusted parties. As resources are shared between BBUs, breaching user privacy and accessing secured data is major threat in distributed architecture.

Market for cloud radio access network can be segmented on the basis of type, component, deployment venue and geography. On the basis of type, market is segmented into cloud RAN and centralized RAN. Centralized RAN carriers take baseband units off the cell sites and put them in a central location in the network. While Cloud RAN refers to the virtualization of the setup, which would allow servers to manage 30 to 40 cell sites each. On the basis of component market is segmented into solutions, services, consulting, planning and implementation, maintenance and support and training. On the basis of deployment venue market is segmented into large public venues, outdoor urban areas, high-density urban areas, suburban and rural areas. On the basis of geography, the market is segmented into North America, Asia Pacific (APAC), South America, Middle East & Africa (MEA) and Europe.

Key players for cloud radio access network (C-RAN) market are Altiostar, Asocs Ltd., Cisco Systems, Inc., Ericsson AB, Fujitsu, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Intel Corporation, Mavenir Systems, NEC Corporation, Nokia Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and ZTE Corporation.

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