Best Practices Approach for Validating Fronthaul Networks

Vratislav Blažek
EXFO, Czech Republic

The mobile industry is undergoing a major transformation that is being driven by the exponential growth of traffic (mobile broadband and video), new services (e.g., the Internet of Things and private mobile radio) and new requirements (lower latency and ubiquitous coverage). The traditional radio access architecture is migrating to a distributed architecture (centralized radio access network [C-RAN]), with the replacement of copper radio frequency (RF) cables by optical fibers (fiber-to-the-antenna, or FTTA). This transformation requires a split of the radio elements (remote radio head [RRH] or remote radio unit [RRU]) and the broadband unit functions (baseband unit [BBU] or digital unit [DU]), and deployment of two competing digital RF communication protocols: common public radio interface (CPRI) and open base station architecture initiative (OBSAI). These elements are typically referred to as fronthaul technology.