Research: 5G C-RAN switched Ethernet fronthauls

Testbed Implementation for a 5G Cloud-Radio Access Network switched Ethernet fronthaul

As a post-graduate researcher at the University of Kent, I was responsible for leading the implementation of MAC-PHY functional split on existing open source LTE emulators, namely OpenAirInterface (June 2016 – July 2017) and srsLTE/srsENB (August – September 2017). The purpose of the implementation was to provide a configurable software foundation for a 5G Cloud-Radio Access Network (C-RAN) switched Ethernet fronthaul that was able to capture metrics. The implementation was able to produce a log file for statistical analysis, and push the captured metrics out over the network in real-time to a software-defined network (SDN) Controller for the purpose of ‘intelligent’ traffic steering.

The contributions were a part of the EU Horizon 2020 funded iCIRRUS project and the UK EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) funded NIRVANA project.

Why the shift from OAI to srsLTE/srsENB?

At the EuCNC 2017 exhibition at Oulu (Finland), I bumped into a Software Engineer from Software Radio Systems Ltd. When he told me they had recently made their software eNB implementation open source, I insisted he show me the source code… Very soon, a shift was made from OpenAirInterface to srsLTE/srsENB for two good reasons: modularity and code quality.


During my research contract, I co-authored the following research papers on the C-RAN 5G telecommunications architecture with regards to Layer 2 (MAC) Ethernet-based fronthauls:

  • An Ethernet-Based Fronthaul Implementation with MAC/PHY Split LTE Processing
    (1st author)
    Globecom 2017
  • Effects of Contention and Delay in a Switched Ethernet Evolved Fronthaul for Future Cloud-RAN Applications
    (2nd author)
    ECOC 2017
  • Ethernet-based fronthauling for cloud- and virtualized-radio access networks
    (2nd author)
    ICTON 2017

The Good Stuff

It seems like the Git hosts I used have changed things around quite a bit since I last checked, so the links below no longer work!

Bare with me as I move everything over to GitLab. Meanwhile, if interested in anything, drop me a message!

Documentation Repository
[LINK – OpenAirInterface-based splits.]

Code Repository
[LINK – OpenAirInterface/OAISIM-based MAC-PHY Split]