Samsung Researchers on Compute Platform Considerations for 6G vRAN

We have done a few posts looking at Open RAN and Virtualized RAN (vRAN). Though they are mutually exclusive, they are often talked about together nowadays. With 6G standardisation process not yet started, there is an opportunity to have virtualized and open network principles from the beginning. 

Over the last few years, Samsung has actively promoted their 4G/5G vRAN based solution and hasn't shied to talk about its leadership in vRAN. Now its researchers have written an article on compute platform considerations for 6G vRAN.

The article discusses the growing importance of Virtualised Radio Access Network (vRAN) technology in the telecommunications sector, especially with the rapid deployment of 5G networks. Traditional RAN deployments relied on custom hardware, but vRAN, which utilizes Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) servers, offers greater flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness for operators.

The article goes on to suggest that vRAN may become the default choice for 6G deployments right from the start due to its advantages. It explores the various processing needs of 6G vRAN, including the demanding requirements of Layer 1 (Physical Layer) processing, heavy-duty packet processing in Layer 2 (Data Link Layer), and less time-sensitive operations in Layer 3 (Radio Resource Control Layer). The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in wireless networks also adds complexity to vRAN design.

While current vRAN platforms are evolving to meet 5G requirements, the article points out that the industry is already looking ahead to 6G, which promises significant advancements in wireless communications. Key factors driving the increased compute requirements for 6G include higher throughput, shorter sub-frames, higher carrier frequencies, greater bandwidth, and extensive use of AI across all radio layers.

To meet the substantial computational demands of 6G, the article emphasizes the need for massively scaled, heterogeneous, and cloud-native platforms that are both powerful and energy-efficient. It calls for a collaborative effort between the compute and wireless industries to co-create 6G, taking into account the evolving compute architectures and the unique requirements of a virtualized and cloud-native 6G network right from the start, unlike the transition from non-virtualized to virtualized networks in 5G.

You can read the complete article here.

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