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Viable vRAN comes a step closer with 802.1CM standard

The use of Ethernet technology for fronthaul (the links between centralized basebands and remote radio heads in a virtualized RAN) has been hailed as the change that will make vRAN viable. While operators used to talk about deploying vRAN even before 5G came along, in reality, 5G is being deployed in the conventional way as the MNOs wait for vRAN to mature. Ethernet, as an alternative to the semi-proprietary CPRI fronthaul protocol, will certainly address some of the performance and economic shortcomings of that technology. But it has drawbacks of its own, many of which are finally being mitigated by a new IEEE standard called 802.1CM. A few chips, notably Broadcom’s Monterey high performance Ethernet offering, have already supported 802.1CM…

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