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Switched Ethernet Fronthaul Architecture for Cloud-Radio Access Networks

Assimakopoulos, Philippos, Al-Hares, Mohamad Kenan, Gomes, Nathan J. (2016) Switched Ethernet Fronthaul Architecture for Cloud-Radio Access Networks. Journal of Optical Communications and Networking, 8 (12). B135-B146. ISSN 1943-0620. (doi:10.1364/JOCN.8.00B135) (KAR id:60771)

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A fronthaul design for current and future mobile networks based on the transport of sampled radio signals from/to base station baseband processing units (BBUs) to/from remote radio heads (RRHs), is presented. The design is a pure-Ethernet switched architecture that uses virtual local area network (VLAN) identifiers for the RRHs and flow identifiers for the antenna ports, and is compatible with current standardization definitions. A comprehensive analysis for the limits of the Ethernet fronthaul in terms of the total number of antennas that can be supported is carried out, based on the latency imposed by the Ethernet network. The analysis assumes the transportation of control and management (C&M) and timing information (based on the precision-time protocol, PTP) but is valid for other types of background traffic (for example, that generated by the implementation of different longterm evolution (LTE) functional subdivisions, in a fronthaul with mixed processing). A low-cost testbed using “smart SFP” in-line probes is presented and used to obtain measurements from an Ethernet fronthaul, transporting mixed traffic. The measurements show how background traffic affects hybrid-automatic repeat request (HARQ) retransmissions, and are used to validate the analysis. The effects of contention of PTP packets is discussed and a simple solution to overcome the effects of contention is proposed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1364/JOCN.8.00B135
Uncontrolled keywords: C-RAN, Ethernet, fronthaul, LTE, 4G, 5G, radio-over-Ethernet, PTP
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Engineering and Digital Arts
Depositing User: Nathan Gomes
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2017 17:24 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2023 15:59 UTC
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