Telefónica, as part of its ambitious UNICA virtualization project, is looking for ways to extend the ongoing virtualization initiatives to the Radio Access Network (RAN). RAN slicing technology is the cornerstone of any end-to-end Network Slicing initiative, since radio resources are, ultimately, the basic components that will be shared (or divided) among users. Netsia and Telefónica have worked to integrate the Netsia platform in the Telefónica Laboratories, reproducing a private LTE network with the ability to subdivide into multiple segments that, at the RAN level, can offer different features, latencies and radio resources for different groups Of customers.
Netsia, a technology startup based in Sunnyvale, California, is actively working on RAN software-defined programmable virtualization for 5G, and has developed ProgRAN, a Radio Access Network framework based on software programmable networks (SDN, as per the abbreviations in English of Software Defined Network). ProgRAN virtualizes the resources of the wireless channel, as well as the radio resource management modules, in base stations, allowing a remote controller to subdivide the network into multiple virtual subnets. The virtual private platform LTE reproduces a hospital scenario where wireless resources are shared among doctors, patients, visitors, objects and other people, so that the distribution of resources is done in a programmable way to effectively carry out the Network slicing at the level of radio resources. The integration was achieved with a virtual LTE Core located in the Telefónica Global Network Labs in Madrid.
Juan Carlos García, Telefonica’s global director of Technology and Architecture, says: “The integration of Netsia’s RTE Virtual LTE platform into a commercial LTE core in our laboratories is an important step forward in demonstrating that end-to-end Network Slicing for networks 5G is possible, from the network core to the RAN, and how this new concept can be applied to specific service environments, such as an LTE virtual private network. ”
Oguz Oktay, Vice President of Wireless Solutions at Netsia, said, “The dynamic capability of ProgRAN’s RAN Slicing technology has the potential to link network services to new business opportunities for operators.”
Oktay added, “ProgRAN allows the RAN to adapt programmatically to different service requirements and customer experience needs, which means that an operator can offer network functions to many different industries, such as IoT, medical or automotive care, using a business model of RAN-As-a-Service.”