Huawei introduced the multistandard base station over a decade ago with its SingleRAN solution for GSM, UMTS, and LTE networks. This has since been expanded to support 5G. On day zero of Huawei's Global Analyst Summit 2018, the company announced SingleRAN Pro, the next stage in the evolution of its base station platform.
SingleRAN Pro is more about messaging than an entirely new RAN solution
SingleRAN Pro is a moniker for Huawei's latest set of RAN solutions. The current version of SingleRAN Pro uses hardware from the already established SingleRAN solution. The 5900 BBU, found in SingleRAN Pro, has already been deployed. SingleRAN Pro isn't an entirely new platform like those introduced a few years ago by Huawei competitors Nokia AirScale and Ericsson Radio System. What SingleRAN Pro represents is an evolution of the vendor's existing system, not a revolution like the original SingleRAN.
SingleRAN Pro brings together three key features. It continues the legacy of multistandard support for 2G, 3G, and 4G (including NB-IoT), but now covers 5G. It also supports what the vendor has called the mobile cloud for agile deployments. This means using the same software whether RAN architecture is distributed, centralized, or virtualized. The mobile cloud also includes dynamic spectrum sharing for faster network deployments along with network virtualization to support network slicing. The third key feature of SingleRAN Pro is the use of artificial intelligence for more efficient network management and optimization. However, none of these features are entirely new.
CloudAIR dates back to 2016. Network slicing is part of the 5G standard, which Huawei has demonstrated its support for with SingleRAN. Network AI is something Huawei talked about, along with an AI-based solution launch, at MWC 2018. So, what exactly is the purpose of SingleRAN Pro?
The purpose of SingleRAN Pro is marketing. It wraps together the existing multistandard platform with other elements needed to support the modern mobile network under one brand. Sure, Huawei could have just stuck to the existing SingleRAN name, but the vendor felt the expansion of the solution beyond multistandard support required a new name. Instead of choosing an entirely new name, it adapted the existing name to communicate that this was an evolution of an existing solution, not a new one (even though exactly what "Pro" means isn't obvious). Name aside, SingleRAN Pro certainly speaks to mobile operator concerns regarding more network flexibility and agility.
"MWC 2018: Industry readies commercial 5G RAN (Part 1)," SPT002-000064 (March 2018)
"MWC 2018: Industry readies commercial 5G RAN (Part 2)," SPT002-00067 (March 2018)
Daryl Schoolar, Practice Leader, Next Generation Infrastructure