There are a number of ways in which modern decentralised fronthaul networks can be arranged, with the 3GPP defining a series of different functional split options that network operators can implement. Each of these describes how the centralised units and distributed units interrelate to one another, and what specific activities will be undertaken by each. Knowing which one is the best fit is not always that simple though, with various factors needing to be considered.
The below article by our Senior VP for Americas Olli Andersson – and published by 5G Technology World – outlines the key characteristics of each of these functional splits, along with their respective merits and drawbacks (in terms of overall coverage, throughput, latency, system cost, operational flexibility, etc.). From this, it will be possible to make better-informed decisions about which option is most appropriate for specific network requirements. Emphasis is then placed on the reasons why the lower level splits are gaining the most traction, looking especially into how the 7.2x split is highly suited to virtualized RAN deployments (such as those using O-RAN).