It is possible nowadays to create an "all-in-one" 4G/5G network infrastructure based a generic software and generic PC. This document provides an example of an offer that can be presented as an alternative to Huawei products in the context of cost-conscious telecommunication operators.
We consider here a telecommunication operator with an existing bakhaul network (radio, wire) and an infrastructure consisting of:
The goal of this offer is to upgrade this infrastructure from 2G/3G to 4G/5G or to extend an existing 4G infrastructure with 4G/5G small cells.
A Big Site provides 4G/5G to a city or an area of a city. It is connected through an existing TCP/IP redundant network (fiber, radio) to other sites and to the core network.
Big sites can be operated either autonomously with a local EPC or through a central EPC. Both options can be deployed at the same time.
Big sites can provide 4G and 5G radio. Both radio can be used at the same time thanks to DSS technology.
A small site extends the network in hotels, parkings, factories and VIP locations. It is connected through an existing TCP/IP network (radio, xDSL, fiber, LTE) to a big site or to the core network.
Small sites can be operated either autonomously with a local EPC or through a central EPC. Both options can be deployed at the same time.
Small sites can provide 4G and 5G radio. Both radio can be used at the same time thanks to DSS technology.
A modern telecommunication operator should be able to provide cloud services. We thus include in our offer a Rapid.Space on-premise cloud that can be used both as public cloud and private cloud. For resiliency, two sites are needed at least. Sites do not need to be tier-3 thanks to built-in resiliency in the operation management software.
4G is the best solution to day but 5G is already coming. Thanks to DSS technology, there is no need to decide which investment makes more sense. We support both.
A central EPC is the best solution to support handover for mobile applications (voice, data) and a large number of customers (> 10.000). It is also the best way to integrate to an existing core network (S1 protocol). However, it is not resilient and is not compatible with low-latency applications or true edge computing.
A local EPC on each site is the best solution for resiliency, performance (caching, buffering), edge computing (low latency, private networks) and fixed applications (voice, data). However, it has limited handover support (10.000 to 100.000 UEs) which requires either to split a national infrastructure into independent regional areas or to ignore handover.
With support both, at the same time, through different operator IDs managed by the same eNodeB or gNodeB.
Amarisoft stack provides its own EPC but also supports existing EPC thanks to S1 interface. Some EPC vendors however use tricky provisions in their maintenance contract to close access to third party vendors. If this is the case, it is always possible to deploy a dedicated EPC for 4G/5G and integrate through roaming with the existing one.
In order to compare the costs of this solution, site installation and maintenance costs should be taken out of the offer and evaluated independently because there is no fundamental difference between the installation of two pieces of 19inch hardware, no matter the supplier. It is also important to compare both OPEX and CAPEX on the same period of time with the same types of features.
Some vendors will try to hide their real cost by either hiding true OPEX cost that later keep on increasing or by hiding the true cost of on-site installation / maintenance of equipment.
It is possible to deploy a complete 4G/5G network from radio to billing to using only generic open source hardware (Open Compute Project, Edge-Core, MITAC, ITRenew, etc.), 4G/5G software stack (Amarisoft), SDR hardware (BJT, AW2S) and open source operation management software (Nexedi SlapOS). Overall cost is possibly lower than Huawei. Most components, hardware and software, are open source.