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China ‘Mega City’ Hosts 4G/5G cRAN Test Network

March 28, 2019 / Matt Kapko

China Unicom and Nokia have partnered on a cooperative 4G and 5G network running on a cloud-based radio access network (cRAN) in the newly created “mega city” of Xiongan, China. The network, which the vendors have dubbed the “world’s largest field trial,” will target use cases for 5G and demonstrate how networks can separate software and hardware to more rapidly deploy 5G.The companies claim this is the first network with 4G and 5G running on the same cloud infrastructure. It’s using 10 4G base stations and 50 5G base stations, and architecture split between central units and distributed units. They plan on verifying 4G/5G cRAN technologies and to share results with industry groups to advance the foundation for 5G deployments.“There are multiple technology shifts taking place in the RAN,” noted Stefan Pongratz, senior director of mobile RAN research at Dell’Oro Group, in response to questions. Network operators are moving from dedicated baseband equipment to compute resources that exis...