The vRAN acceleration dilemma for operators: a choice between performance and openness

22 June 2023 | Research

Caroline Gabriel | Stephen Burton

Strategy report | PPTX and PDF (23 slides) | Next-Generation Wireless Networks

"Cost-effective 5G vRAN will be impossible without significant advances in semiconductors but the different approaches that chip manufacturers are taking could compromise open platforms."


Virtualised and open RAN architecture requires huge levels of processor performance in the cloud hardware, and this is currently unaffordable in a dense 5G macrocell network. Semiconductor vendors are racing to address the challenge, but the different approaches are incompatible and this could risk compromising operators' goals for open networks.

Key questions answered in this report

  • What quantifiable impact could vRAN acceleration have on the performance and economics of RAN deployments in the cloud?
  • How would effective acceleration solutions affect the overall business case for vRAN and Open RAN in the period to 2027?
  • What are the pros and cons of the solutions that are emerging from the semiconductor vendors?
  • When will these solutions be market-ready, and which equipment-makers and operators support them?
  • How can operators use their position in the market to keep the chip layer open and to support a diverse ecosystem without fragmentation?


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Caroline Gabriel

Research Director, expert in network and cloud strategies and architecture