British fixed line incumbent BT has successfully used G.fast technology to deliver a ‘Cloud Radio Access Network’ (C-RAN) cellular network service over copper, the company has revealed. Saying that it believed the experiment to be a world first, the telco noted that C-RAN is a new network architecture used to connect cellular base-stations to mobile operators’ core networks.
Working with US-based semiconductor manufacturer Cavium, researchers at BT’s Adastral Park Labs in Ipswich, are understood to have demonstrated that they can use G.fast technology to deliver cellular data over copper lines at speeds of between 150Mbps and 200Mbps. Such a development, it was claimed could remove the need for mobile operators to invest in costly, high capacity backhaul links over dedicated fibre connections. Instead, BT has suggested that by providing a more economic ‘fronthaul’ connection between the base station and the mobile operators’ core network, a C-RAN service delivered over G.fast would significantly lower the cost of deployment for mobile operators building out 4G networks today and 5G architectures in the future.
Commenting on the development, Dr Tim Whitley, MD for Research & Innovation at BT, was cited as saying: ‘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 … 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.’