End-user devices must ultimately connect to wireless core networks, which is the function of base stations and small cells that sit out in the radio access network (RAN). Traditionally, the RAN has been the "dumb pipe" for voice calls and data. With the advent of software-defined infrastructure (SDI), network operators can make these pipes "intelligent" by overlaying distributed cloud computing solutions onto the RAN. At its core, this change requires deploying general-purpose processors and storage onto base stations or base station aggregation points (such as a radio network controller). This network upgrade will not only decrease operating expense (OpEx), but also accelerate the overall return on investment (ROI) by creating new revenue streams.
This solution brief describes how enterprise-grade cloud computing solutions can be integrated with commercial and enterprise RANs using an Intel® processor-based computing platform. The platform enables one of the largest existing software ecosystems, making products and technologies from the likes of IneoQuest, Saguna Networks, SpiderCloud Wireless, and Tango Networks available to cellular operators. Distributing specialized software and services across the network edge unleashes new opportunities for network operators.