NTTDoCoMo proposes new LTE-A based C-RAN

NTT DoCoMo has said it is working on a new network densification technology that exploits Carrier Aggregation to allow "significantly improved data capacity and throughput" in high traffic areas.

The operator is calling the architecture advanced C-RAN (Centralised RAN) and is planning to deploy it as it introduces LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) features into its network.

NTTDoCoMo describes the technology as enabling the addition of small “add-on” cells that provide localised coverage and cooperate with master macro base stations. The idea moves on from the current C-RAN architecture, which feeds remote radio heads from centralised base stations, to incorporate “add-on” small cells that can be supported as a result of carrier aggregation, according to NTTDoCoMo.

DoCoMo did not mention the use of other LTE-A technologies such as eICIC and CoMP in relation to how inter-cell coordination and interference will be managed.

We’ve asked NTTDoCoMo for more comment on this proposal. Please add your own question or comment below.

The architecture starts with high-capacity macro base stations that will act as master base stations both for multiple macro cells covering broad areas and for add-on cells in smaller, high-traffic areas. The base stations will accommodate up to 48 macro and add-on cells at launch and even more later, NTTDoCoMo said.

Carrier aggregation will be supported for cells served by the same base station, thereby enabling the flexible deployment of add-on cells, NTTDoCoMo said. The maximum downlink throughput would be up to 3GBps, as specified by 3GPP standards.

We’ve asked NTTDoCoMo for more comment on this proposal. Please add your own question or comment below.

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