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The C-RAN (Centralized Radio Access Network) Ecosystem: 2017 – 2030 – Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts

  • July 2017
  • 430 pages
  • SNS Telecom
Report ID: 3575158

Summary

Table of Contents

SNS Research’s latest report indicates that mobile operators are expected to invest nearly $9 Billion in C-RAN (Centralized Radio Access Network) infrastructure rollouts by the end of 2017.

Centralized RAN or C-RAN is an architectural shift in RAN (Radio Access Network) design, where the bulk of baseband processing is centralized and aggregated for a large number of distributed radio nodes. In comparison to standalone clusters of base stations, C-RAN provides significant performance and economic benefits such as baseband pooling, enhanced coordination between cells, virtualization, network extensibility, smaller deployment footprint and reduced power consumption.

Initially popularized by Japanese and South Korean mobile operators, C-RAN technology is beginning to gain momentum worldwide with major tier 1 operators – including Verizon Communications, AT&T, Sprint, China Mobile, Vodafone, TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile), Orange and Telefónica – seeking to leverage the benefits of centralized baseband processing.

SNS Research estimates that global investments in C-RAN architecture networks will reach nearly $9 Billion by the end of 2017. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 24% between 2017 and 2020. These investments will include spending on RRHs (Remote Radio Heads), BBUs (Baseband Units) and fronthaul transport network equipment.

The “C-RAN (Centralized Radio Access Network) Ecosystem: 2017 – 2030 – Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts” report presents an in-depth assessment of the C-RAN ecosystem including enabling technologies, key trends, market drivers, challenges, standardization, regulatory landscape, deployment models, operator case studies, opportunities, future roadmap, value chain, ecosystem player profiles and strategies. The report also presents forecasts for C-RAN infrastructure investments from 2017 till 2030. The forecasts cover 3 individual submarkets and 6 regions.

The report comes with an associated Excel datasheet suite covering quantitative data from all numeric forecasts presented in the report.

Topics Covered
The report covers the following topics:
- C-RAN ecosystem
- Market drivers and barriers
- Key architectural components (RRH, BBU and fronthaul)
- Competing RAN architectures including traditional macrocell base stations, standalone small cells and DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems)
- Key trends including baseband functional splitting, enterprise RAN, vRAN (Virtualized RAN)/Cloud RAN, MEC (Mobile Edge Computing) and RANaaS (RAN-as-a-Service)
- Fronthaul networking technologies and interface options
- C-RAN deployment models and mobile operator case studies
- Regulatory landscape and standardization
- Industry roadmap and value chain
- Profiles and strategies of over 230 leading ecosystem players including enabling technology providers, radio equipment suppliers, BBU vendors, fronthaul network equipment vendors and mobile operators
- Strategic recommendations for ecosystem players including C-RAN solution providers and mobile operators
- Market analysis and forecasts from 2017 till 2030


Forecast Segmentation
Market forecasts are provided for each of the following submarkets and their subcategories:

Submarket Segmentation
- RRHs (Remote Radio Heads)
- BBUs (Baseband Units)
- Fronthaul

Air Interface Technology Segmentation
- 3G & LTE
- 5G NR (New Radio)

Network Architecture Segmentation
- Non-Virtualized C-RAN
- vRAN/Cloud RAN

Deployment Model Segmentation
- Indoor
- Outdoor

Cell Size Segmentation
- Small Cells
- Macrocells

Fronthaul Transport Network Technology Segmentation
- Dedicated Fiber
- WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing)
- OTN (Optical Transport Network)
- PON (Passive Optical Network)
- Ethernet
- Microwave
- Millimeter Wave
- G.Fast & Others

Regional Markets
- Asia Pacific
- Eastern Europe
- Middle East & Africa
- Latin & Central America
- North America
- Western Europe

Key Questions Answered
The report provides answers to the following key questions:
- How big is the C-RAN opportunity?
- What trends, challenges and barriers are influencing its growth?
- How is the ecosystem evolving by segment and region?
- What will the market size be in 2020 and at what rate will it grow?
- Which submarkets will see the highest percentage of growth?
- How can C-RAN facilitate the management of interference and LTE-Advanced features such as CoMP (Coordinated Multi-Point)?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of each baseband functional split option?
- How can C-RAN reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of RAN deployments?
- What are the prospects of wireless fronthaul technologies?
- Is Ethernet a feasible solution for fronthaul networking?
- How big is the market for vRAN/Cloud RAN networks?
- How can mobile operators future-proof their RAN investments for 5G upgrades?
- Who are the key market players and what are their strategies?
- What strategies should C-RAN solution providers and mobile operators adopt to remain competitive?

Key Findings
The report has the following key findings:
- Expected to reach nearly $9 Billion in global spending by the end of 2017, C-RAN is increasingly becoming the preferred approach to deploy future mobile networks. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 24% between 2017 and 2020.
- Small cells are also beginning to be deployed in a C-RAN architecture to leverage the benefits of resource pooling and multi-cell coordination. This trend is particularly prevalent in the indoor and enterprise segments, with a number of dedicated vendor solutions such as CommScope’s OneCell, SpiderCloud’s E-RAN, Ericsson’s Radio Dot, and Huawei’s LampSite.
- Mobile operators are exploring multiple baseband functional split options for C-RAN implementation, as they seek to ease the transition to 5G networks while reducing fronthaul costs.
- By the end of 2020, SNS Research estimates that vRAN/Cloud RAN deployments with virtualized baseband processing will account for nearly 20% of all C-RAN investments.
- The vendor arena is continuing to consolidate with several prominent M&A deals such as Mavenir Systems’ recent merger with C-RAN specialist Ranzure Networks, which has positioned the company as an end-to-end provider of 5G-ready mobile network solutions.

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