SK Telecom announced on December 15 last year that its newly developed “open 5G fronthaul interface specification” was adopted as a Korean national standard by the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA). This report covers the '5G RAN architecture and Fronthaul' strategies that are being shaped by SK Telecom.
SK Telecom, having built and operated the world’s best LTE nationwide network, is now paving a way to launch its commercial 5G network in March 2019.
Most mobile operators in the world are under pressure of high costs of building 5G radio access network (RAN) because 5G, using mmWave frequencies, requires more densely installed base stations, which apparently means intensive financial investment, compared to 4G LTE.
In last December, SK Telecom defined the open fronthaul interface (Fx) for 5G RAN to:
- Overcome the dependency on incumbent RAN vendors
- Attract more SMBs and startups to the 5G RAN market
- Bring down the costs of building 5G RAN
This report will discuss the two key challenges in 4G C-RAN (i.e. fronthaul capacity and vendor-proprietary interface) along with the solutions proposed so far in the industry.
It will also introduce the 5G RAN-architecture and open interfaces proposed in the 5G open fronthaul interface standard by SK Telecom.
SK Telecom is certainly offering great opportunities for new comers (SMBs & startups) to enter the 5G RAN market. Being vendors for SK Telecom, #1 mobile network operator in the #1 mobile country in the world, will open up more opportunities for them to enter and survive in the global market.
- [SK Telecom PR] SK Telecom’s fronthaul technology for 5G adopted as Korean national standard
- RAN architecture: 4G RAN - Problem statements
- RAN architecture: 5G RAN
- 5G RAN architecture: High-layer split (F1) and low layer split (RoE, eCPRI)
- Lower layer function split: Radio over Ethernet vs. eCPRI
- Open 5G fronthaul interface: IEEE NGFI (1914) WG, xRAN and Telecom Infra Project (TIP)
- SK Telecom 5G RAN architecture: Open fronthaul interface
- SK Telecom 5G RAN architecture: High-layer split (F1) and low layer split (Fx)
- Comparison between IEEE RoE (D3.0) and SK Telecom open F/H interface specification
- Research comments on SK Telecom’s strategy
- Open 5G RAN and fronthaul architecture of SK Telecom
- Milestone of 5G technology development of SK Telecom