Dali Wireless is adding fronthaul protocol translation to its DAS solution in an effort to help operators mix-and-match different protocols, vendors, and technologies. The company’s intelligent router supports translation between CPRI, eCPRI, RoE, and Ethernet. These are all protocols that baseband units use to communicate with remote radios in distributed antenna systems.
By translating these protocols, Dali hopes to give network operators more flexibility in their equipment choices. Virtual fronthaul could shake up the DAS market and eliminate vendor lock-in by enabling operators to connect radio equipment from different vendors. Dali says major operators in the U.S. and Europe will be trialing the technology this year.
“Having the ability to connect any baseband unit to any remote radio unit, regardless of vendor and fronthaul protocol is a very important step to unbundling the RAN, and creating the more flexible and open RAN essential for 5G’s success,” said Nick Marshall, research director at ABI Research.
The ability for operators to mix equipment could help vendors compete on price, which will be key to both carriers and enterprise customers.
“Cost has always been the Achilles heel for any network rollout,” said Albert Lee, CEO of Dali Wireless. “At a time when 4G infrastructure expansion continues to grow and 5G hardware is set to drive up CAPEX even further, operators need an open, and cost-effective way to manage the requirements of the countless use cases 5G is set to deliver.”
Software-controlled radio access networks are seen as a cost-effective way for in-building networks to migrate to 5G because network capacity can often be added without additional hardware. Other cost benefits of virtualized radio access networks are more control over the amount of wireless signal capacity used inside each building and the ability to combine baseband resources for more than one DAS.