Abstract

Radio access network (RAN) cost savings are expected in future cloud RAN (C-RAN). In contrast to traditional distributed RAN architectures, in C-RAN, remote radio heads (RRHs) from different sites can share baseband processing resources from virtualized baseband unit pools placed in a few central locations (COs). Due to the stringent requirements of the several interfaces needed in C-RAN, optical networks have been proposed to support C-RAN. One of the key elements that needs to be considered are optical transponders. Specifically, sliceable bandwidth-variable transponders (SBVTs) have recently shown many advantages for core optical transport networks. In this paper, we study the connectivity requirements of C-RAN applications and conclude that dynamicity, fine granularity, and elasticity are needed. However, there is no SBVT implementation that supports those requirements, and thus, we propose and assess an SBVT architecture based on dynamic optical arbitrary generation/measurement. We consider different long-term evolution-advanced configurations and study the impact of the centralization level in terms of the capital expense and operating expense. An optimization problem is modeled to decide which COs should be equipped and which equipment, including transponders, needs to be installed. The results show noticeable cost savings from installing the proposed SBVTs compared to installing fixed transponders. Finally, compared to the maximum centralization level, remarkable cost savings are shown when a lower level of centralization is considered.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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