The C-RAN (Centralized Radio Access Network) Ecosystem: 2016 - 2030 - Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts

The C-RAN (Centralized Radio Access Network) Ecosystem: 2016 - 2030 - Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts

Code: 97 | Published: Jan-2016 | Pages: 250 | SNS Research
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Centralized RAN or C-RAN is an architectural shift in RAN (Radio Access Network) design, where the bulk of baseband processing is centralized and aggregated for a large number of distributed radio nodes. In comparison to standalone clusters of base stations, C-RAN provides significant performance and economic benefits such as baseband pooling, enhanced coordination between cells, virtualization, network extensibility, smaller deployment footprint and reduced power consumption.

Although Japan and South Korea continue to spearhead commercial C-RAN investments, interest is also growing in other parts of the world. Mobile operators such as China Mobile, Orange, Verizon and Sprint are already investing in the technology.

SNS Research estimates that global investments on C-RAN architecture networks will reach over $7 Billion by the end of 2016. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 20% between 2016 and 2020. These investments will include spending on RRHs (Remote Radio Heads), BBUs (Baseband Units) and fronthaul transport networking gear.

The "C-RAN (Centralized Radio Access Network) Ecosystem: 2016 - 2030 - Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts" report presents an in-depth assessment of the C-RAN ecosystem including enabling technologies, key trends, market drivers, challenges, standardization, regulatory landscape, deployment models, operator case studies, opportunities, future roadmap, value chain, ecosystem player profiles and strategies. The report also presents forecasts for C-RAN infrastructure investments from 2016 till 2030. The forecasts cover 3 individual submarkets and 6 regions.

The report comes with an associated Excel datasheet suite covering quantitative data from all numeric forecasts presented in the report.


Topics Covered
The report covers the following topics:
- C-RAN ecosystem
- Market drivers and barriers
- Key architectural components (RRH, BBU and fronthaul)
- Competing RAN architectures including traditional macrocell base stations, small cells and DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems)
- Key trends including baseband functional splitting, enterprise C-RAN, Cloud RAN, MEC (Mobile Edge Computing) and RANaaS (RAN as a Service)
- Fronthaul networking technologies and interface options
- C-RAN deployment models and mobile operator case studies
- Regulatory landscape and standardization
- Industry roadmap and value chain
- Profiles and strategies of over 120 leading ecosystem players including enabling technology providers, radio equipment suppliers, BBU vendors, fronthaul networking vendors and mobile operators
- Strategic recommendations for ecosystem players including C-RAN solution providers and mobile operators
- Market analysis and forecasts from 2016 till 2030

Historical Revenue & Forecast Segmentation
Market forecasts are provided for each of the following submarkets and their subcategories:

Air Interface Technology
- 3G & LTE
- 5G

Submarkets
- RRH (Remote Radio Head)
- BBU (Baseband Unit)
- Fronthaul

RRH Deployment Model
- Indoor
- Outdoor

Fronthaul Technology
- Dedicated Fiber
- WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing)
- OTN (Optical Transport Network)
- PON (Passive Optical Network)
- Ethernet
- Microwave
- Millimeter Wave

Regional Markets
- Asia Pacific
- Eastern Europe
- Middle East & Africa
- Latin & Central America
- North America
- Western Europe

Key Questions Answered
The report provides answers to the following key questions:
- How big is the C-RAN opportunity?
- What trends, challenges and barriers are influencing its growth?
- How is the ecosystem evolving by segment and region?
- What will the market size be in 2020 and at what rate will it grow?
- Which submarkets will see the highest percentage of growth?
- How can C-RAN facilitate the management of interference and LTE-Advanced features such as CoMP (Coordinated Multi-Point)?
- What are the prospects of wireless fronthaul technologies?
- Is Ethernet a feasible solution for fronthaul networking?
- How big is the market for virtualized Cloud RAN networks?
- Who are the key market players and what are their strategies?
- What strategies should C-RAN solution providers and mobile operators adopt to remain competitive?

Key Findings
The report has the following key findings:
- Expected to surpass $7 Billion in global spending by the end of 2016, C-RAN is increasingly becoming the preferred approach to deploy future mobile networks for both macro and small cell coverage. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 20% between 2016 and 2020.
- To alleviate stringent fronthaul requirements, an increasing number of C-RAN solutions are now utilizing RRHs with baseband capabilities, allowing some intelligence (primarily Layer 1 and Layer 2) to be distributed among RRHs, with Layer 3 functionality residing at centralized BBUs.
- The ongoing 5G race is expected to significantly boost C-RAN investments over the coming years. SNS Research estimates that over $1 Billion of all C-RAN architecture network investments will be directed towards 5G networks by the end of 2020.
- At present, most virtualized Cloud RAN investments are limited to trials and demonstrations. However, by the end of 2020, we expect that virtualized BBUs will account for over 6% of all C-RAN BBU investments.

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