Written by industry insiders with state of the art research at their fingertips, this book describes the Radio Access Network (RAN) architecture, starting with currently deployed 4G, followed by the description of 5G requirements and why re-thinking of the RAN architecture is needed to support these. Based on these considerations, it explains the 5G RAN (also referred as NG-RAN) network architecture, defined in 3GPP, O-RAN and Small Cell Forum.
The aim is not merely to cover relevant standards and technologies as a purely academic exercise (although a significant part of the book is dedicated to these), but to augment these by explanations about why certain standards decisions have been made and how various NG-RAN architecture options can be deployed in real networks.
With 5G deployments coming up, there is a desire to re-think the RAN architecture to ensure 5G networks can deliver the promised throughput and low latency KPIs in a sustainable fashion. Furthermore, there is a desire (at least from some companies) to change the proprietary nature of the RAN. Correspondingly, the NG-RAN architecture evolution is driven not only by technical challenges, but also various business considerations, which are explained in the book.
Besides the basic NG-RAN architecture defined in Release-15, the book describes how the RAN has evolved in Release-16 with the addition of wireless relaying (also referred to as Integrated Access and Backhaul [IAB]) and satellite access support (also referred to as Non-terrestrial Networks [NTN]) and how the RAN is likely to evolve in Release-17 and beyond.