In the last couple of years, the concept of disaggregated open routers (DORs) has emerged and started to gain traction. As noted in our recent blog, most communications service providers recognize the potential of open routing solutions and have already started deploying them in parts of their networks.
Have you been wondering how DORs are deployed and function in the field, in real networks? If you have, you’ve come to the right place!
Ever since we released IP-50FX – the first Radio-Aware Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway – in early 2022, our people have engaged with numerous service providers and system integrators in different parts of the world that were looking for open routing solutions. Considering the growing adoption rate of DORs among CSPs, the increased interest came as no surprise. The value is there, whether you are implementing a new network or expanding an existing network. We discussed the benefits in the Rise of the Disaggregated Router blog.
But here comes the interesting part. In these engagements we found out that open routers provide various benefits to different customers, depending on the actual use case rather than a one-size-fits-all pattern. Each customer has their own needs and requirements, and open routers usually function as an essential ingredient in an overall solution that addresses them. That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to share some of these use cases.
OPEN RAN MIDHAUL
Take for example a greenfield deployment of a cutting-edge Open RAN network. We have been working on this project together with a large system integrator. The end customer, a service provider, needed high capacity midhaul connectivity between Central Units (CUs) in a core site and Distribution Units (DUs) in several main sites. This is a good example where the Open Transport concept complements Open RAN. The solution combines our radio-aware DCSGs and multiband radio systems – microwave and millimeter wave. The wireless links exceed expectations and provide capacities ranging from several Gbps up to several tens of Gbps. One of the important factors here is the ability of the DCSG to support advanced capabilities such as carrier aggregation, traffic prioritization, redundancy paths, and Segment Routing.
HIGH CAPACITY LONGHAUL
One of the areas we are very proud of at Ceragon is Longhaul solutions. Our high-power radios are built to provide connectivity to remote places by addressing the service providers’ longhaul challenge: how to get the maximum capacity, with the required availability, over the longest possible distance, at the minimum expense. Quite often the radios are only part of the whole solution we provide. Such was the case with a service provider that needed to connect a remote island to the mainland. The challenge was to provide a high-capacity connection of 3Gbps over narrow microwave channels, crossing several tens of kilometers over water. We used the DCSG as a virtual indoor unit with Layer-1 link bonding in a 14+0 configuration of high-power radios and advanced space diversity on three antennas. The RAON software running on the DCSG provided a single IP address for the 3 Gbps link.
HIGH RESILIENCY ROUTING
DORs are also a great help for customers of private networks. We recently worked with two defense organizations in separate countries. For one of them, we replaced legacy SDH switches with our DSCGs functioning as routers only and connected in a ring topology for survivability. The solution provides them with high resiliency using Segment Routing and rich traffic engineering tools. For the other customer, we also planned a ring topology, yet in this case, the IP-50FX units function as full Radio-Aware DCSGs – connected to All-Outdoor radios and using our RAON radio management software. The solution provided no-single point-of-failure and layer 3 redundancy to ensure high resiliency.
FULL TURNKEY FOR PRIVATE NETWORK
Another recent case of a private network is in the Oil and Gas industry, a domain in which we have been very active for many years. This time we have been contracted by a large solution integrator to plan and execute a full turnkey solution for a private LTE network to be installed on a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit – a floating offshore vessel used to collect, process, and store oil and gas from nearby platforms and offload them to tankers. The network provides connectivity to rugged end-user devices, machinery, and equipment on the vessel’s decks – including hazardous environments requiring customized ATEX enclosers for the radio equipment. The IP-50FX DORs provide RAN aggregation between the LTE base stations and the network’s core (EPC) and, also carry Voice over LTE (VoLTE) traffic. The project included detailed design and rigorous pre-installation testing, as well as long-term maintenance services.
If you read this far, you probably noticed a common line that runs through these use cases – while each mobile or private network is different, the same DORs can be utilized in a wide variety of specialized solutions. To do that, the DORs must be flexible and support advanced capabilities. When you combine those capabilities with integration expertise, you can deliver complete, highly efficient solutions that address the diverse requirements of modern networks in a cost-effective way. Closed routers are simply not built for the challenge.
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