With the availability of 5G specifications (e.g. CUPS, function split concept), omnipresent virtualization platforms, and the introduction of SDN concept into the mobile infrastructure (RAN virtualization) it will become possible to combine the capabilities together in order to enable configuration, optimization and control of the underlying RAN infrastructure from centralized location (or aggregation points). This way it is possible now to expose eNB/gNB functionalities as X-Apps (i.e. SD-RAN controller applications available on northbound interface). Such applications (e.g. mobility management, admission control, interference management) are available as plug-ins for the SD-RAN controller, that enforces their policies via southbound interface towards base stations. Providing such architecture enables unprecedented means for controlling radio resources in a comprehensive way.
RIC thanks to its control capabilities and operation as an aggregated functionality, can greatly add to realization of various traffic use cases. Depending on the requirement it can realize data flows which target the following corners of the “5G triangle”:
- maximization of capacity (case number 1 in the Figure below) such important for enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) use case.
- maximization of reliability and minimization of latency (case number 2), which is key for ultra-reliable and low latency communications.
- Maximization of energy-efficiency (case number 3) important for massive machine-type communication.