BT examines G.fast for cloud RANs

BT has revealed it has successfully used G.fast to create a trial cloud radio access network (C-RAN). The operator partnered with chip vendor Cavium, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAVM) on the trial, conducted at BT's Adastral Park Labs in Ipswich.

BT has revealed it has successfully used G.fast to create a trial cloud radio access network (C-RAN). The operator partnered with chip vendor Cavium, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAVM) on the trial, conducted at BT's Adastral Park Labs in Ipswich.

C-RAN is an emerging network architecture used to connect cellular base-stations to mobile operators' core networks. Most C-RANs use fiber-optic network technology. However, BT was interested in exploring whether G.fast could enable the service provider to support the expected bandwidth needs of C-RANs using in-place copper.

BT says the trials showed G.fast's ability to support the transmission of cellular data over copper at speeds for 150 to 200 Mbps. The operator expressed hope that it will be able to meet the front-haul requirements of 4G and 5G networks using the technology where fiber cable isn't available.

"Using G.fast to deliver a cellular network is an exciting breakthrough for C-RAN and yet another world first for our team of researchers at Adastral Park," said Dr. Tim Whitley, managing director for Research & Innovation at BT. "These technologies will play a key role in 4G networks and will be fundamental to 5G architectures. The trials are another step towards a fixed and mobile network which will support customers' increasing demands for data."

Cavium supplied its OCTEON Fusion-M base-station and ThunderX server processor technology for the trial.

BT is testing G.fast as an "ultra-fast" broadband delivery mechanism as an alternative to fiber to the home (FTTH; see "BT connects first G.fast trial customers").

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