Future RAN architecture: SD-RAN through a general-purpose processing platform

Zainab Zaidi, Vasilis Friderikos, Muhammad Ali Imran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we identify and study the potential of an integrated deployment solution for energy-efficient cellular networks combining the strengths of two very active current research themes: 1) software-defined radio access networks (SD-RANs) and 2) decoupled signaling and data transmissions, or beyond cellular green generation (BCG2) architecture, for enhanced energy efficiency. While SD-RAN envisions a decoupled centralized control plane and data-forwarding plane for flexible control, the BCG2 architecture calls for decoupling coverage from the capacity and coverage provided through an always-on low-power signaling node for a larger geographical area; the capacity is catered by various on-demand data nodes for maximum energy efficiency. In this article, we show that a combined approach that brings both specifications together can not only achieve greater benefits but also facilitate faster realization of both technologies. We propose the idea and design of a signaling controller that acts as a signaling node to provide always-on coverage, consuming low power, and at the same time host the control plane functions for the SDRAN through a general-purpose processing platform. The phantom cell concept is also a similar idea where a normal macrocell provides interference control to densely deployed small cells, although our initial results show that the integrated architecture has a much greater potential for energy savings than phantom cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7047300
Pages (from-to)52-60
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine
Issue number1
Early online date24 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


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