On October 19, 2020, number-1 DAS (distributed antenna system) player CommScope acquired the complete patent portfolio for virtual radio access networks (vRAN) from Phluido, a pioneer in RAN virtualization and disaggregation. These patents address key concepts introduced in both 5G and open RAN, including efficient fronthaul transport, virtualization, and network synchronization.
We, at LightCounting, anticipated such a type of acquisition that confirms our view (see Virtual and Open Radio Access Networks Report: How vRAN and open RAN are reshaping the RAN establishment—June 2020) that open vRAN is a strong candidate ready to take a significant cut at the indoor DAS market, which matured and peaked in 2015 and therefore needs a serious revamp and a new approach. Here is why this combination is remarkable and rightly timed.
Phluido brings everything Commscope needs to get up to speed in the open virtual indoor RAN market
Founded in 2014 by former Qualcomm engineer and RAN veteran Alan Barbieri, the start-up focuses on the concept of offering a radio as a service. The idea came when C-RAN (centralized RAN) took off in Japan and South Korea in 2012-2014 with CPRI (common public radio interface) as the transport protocol between the centralized BBUs (baseband unit) and the radios. Alan believed CPRI had too many limitations to allow C-RAN to spread to other markets and decided to redesign RAN functions by running them on software with new fronthaul protocols to replace CPRI, which led to several US patents filed in 2015.
LightCounting subscribers can access the full text of this research note by logging into their accounts.