Network software provider Mavenir has introduced its Virtual Cell Site Router (vCSR), at MWC 2023. It’s a solution that moves the cell site routing functionality into a containerised virtual function inside the Open RAN DU server (running on COTS hardware).
The vCSR simplifies deployment and operation, reduces the number of cables and points of failure, and frees up rack space that can be used for incremental revenue-generating applications. The new solution is being implemented in a tier one communications service provider and will be generally available in the second half of this year.
Every 4G and 5G cell site deployed requires a high-throughput, ultra-low-latency cell site router to connect the different components into the radio access network (RAN). Typically, this router is a physical hardware device that needs to be procured, deployed, configured, optimised and managed. This leads to additional costs per site and increases time to market.
Mavenir says its cloud-native vCSR, developed in collaboration with Intel, leverages additional CPU cores in the distributed unit (DU) server based on Intel Xeon processors, including the fourth generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors with Intel vRAN Boost, which are optimised for virtualisation of all layers of the RAN stack, and an Intel Ethernet 800 Series Adapter with timing synchronisation.
The Mavenir vCSR is one of the first solutions available using hardware-assisted enhanced timing distribution on a virtual router to provide a solution that moves all the cell site routing functionality into a containerised virtual function.
Mavenir vCSR also provides lower total cost of ownership as the containerised virtual function allows for automated deployment and management flexibility with fewer elements to procure, deploy and power at the cell site. Additionally, using standard cloud-native functions (CNF) interfaces, Mavenir vCSR’s streaming telemetry capabilities allow operators to use open-source CNF visualisation tools to debug and analyse issues and optimise their network.
There are also revenue opportunities. Operators can leverage the freed-up rack space to deploy additional computing resources, integrated into their virtualisation platform, that can be offered to third parties to monetise new use cases such as edge computing applications, content delivery network (CDN) servers, cloud gaming, or augmented/virtual reality applications.