As reported by Wells Fargo, Verizon Wireless is now in the process of testing a C-RAN configuration in the city of San Francisco in California. If the testing goes well, the biggest wireless carrier in America should be able to minimize how much equipment it is utilizing. Sprint, another major wireless carrier in the United States, is also opting to invest in C-RAN architecture networking equipment. This is part of its larger Next Generation Network densification plan.
For those not familiar with C-RAN, it is short for either Cloud-RAN (with RAN standing for radio access network) or Centralized-RAN. This is a type of wireless network that makes use of a sole remote radio head at the cellular site. C-RAN are generally considered a more power efficient wireless solution, and several vendors, including Huawei, Ericsson, and SpiderCloud, just to name a few, offer this as part of their portfolio of services.
Of course, not everyone sees C-RAN as the perfect solution for their wireless needs. But recently, the technology has gotten some attention (especially now that major wireless carriers like Verizon Wireless and Sprint are employing it or about to). And as the industry is starting to transition to 5G (the wireless technology that will supplant today’s 4G networks), many see C-RAN as something that will play a significant role bringing the next generation of wireless tech into life. Having said that, C-RAN will surely not only become a factor for wireless carriers, but also for tower companies as well as vendors of network equipment and other players involved in the wireless infrastructure industry. SNS Research has estimated that global investments in C-RAN architecture networks will grow to over $7 billion by the end of this year.
Every wireless carrier knows that acquiring spectrum can be costly, even someone as big as Verizon Wireless. That is why it is exploring the idea of C-RAN to augment its coverage. Some may remember that back in February of last year, Verizon Wireless began to take full advantage of Ericsson’s Dot system in order to set up small cells in indoor locations. And recently, the Big Red has also inked a deal in order to acquire XO Communications fiber network business for a sum of $1.8 billion, which should allow Verizon Wireless to gain access to 4,000 more on-net buildings in 40 major markets in the United States, reaching 1.2 million fiber miles.
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