Dali Wireless’ Virtual Fronthaul Interface Opens RAN to 5G

March 1, 2018

Dali Wireless launched the second-generation Dali Matrix Virtual Fronthaul Interface (vFI) at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, which allows any baseband to be routed to any remote radio unit. The product, which follows the trend for open RAN to be a component of 5G networks, will be trialed by major operators in the United States and globally later this year.

“While the applications and use cases of 5G are no doubt very exciting, it is important to remember that 5G is yet another network rollout for mobile network operators,” said Nick Marshall, Research Director, ABI Research. “Having the ability to connect any baseband unit to any remote radio unit, regardless of vendor and fronthaul protocol is a very important step to unbundling the RAN and creating the more flexible and open RAN essential for 5G’s success.”

An open RAN eliminates vendor lock-in and reduces total cost of ownership. Any-to-Any fronthaul connectivity also contributes to send-to-end network slicing, and helps operators migrate to 5G networks in a more cost-effective and efficient way while providing maximum investment protection for legacy networks.

“Cost has always been the Achilles’ heel for any network rollout. At a time when 4G infrastructure expansion continues to grow and 5G hardware is set to drive up CAPEX even further, operators need an open, and cost-effective way to manage the requirements of the countless use cases 5G is set to deliver,” said Albert Lee, CEO of Dali Wireless.

Virtual fronthaul will make radio resource configuration and allocation both dynamic and dynamic. vFI’s on-demand routing is designed to deliver capacity improvements, and new spectrum bands and operators can be added incrementally with each operator getting its own management domain and software enabling remote configuration. The Dali vFI works with any transport protocol so operators may continue to use their current equipment.

“Vendor and protocol agnostic signal routing in the fronthaul is an important step to unbundling the RAN and creating a more flexible open framework needed for 5G. Dali’s vFI supports translation between different protocols including CPRI, eCPRI, RoE, and Ethernet enabling seamless communication between RAN elements provided by different vendors,” Lee said.

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