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Survey on 5G Second Phase RAN Architectures and Functional splits
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  • Bahram Khan ,
  • Nidhi Nidhi ,
  • Hatem OdetAlla ,
  • Adam Flizikowski ,
  • Albena Mihovska ,
  • Jean-Frédéric Wagen ,
  • Fernando Velez
Bahram Khan
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Nidhi Nidhi
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Hatem OdetAlla
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Adam Flizikowski
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Albena Mihovska
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Jean-Frédéric Wagen
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Fernando Velez
Instituto de Telecomunicações and Universidade da Beira Interior

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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The Radio Access Network (RAN) architecture evolves with different generations of mobile communication technologies and forms an indispensable component of the mobile network architecture. The main component of the RAN infrastructure is the base station, which includes a Radio Frequency unit and a baseband unit. The RAN is a collection of base stations connected to the core network to provide coverage through one or more radio access technologies. The advancement towards cloudnative networks has led to centralizing the baseband processing of radio signals. There is a trade-off between the advantages of RAN centralization (energy efficiency, power cost reduction, and the cost of the fronthaul) and the complexity of carrying traffic between the data processing unit and distributed antennas. 5G networks hold high potential for adopting the centralized architecture to reduce maintenance costs while reducing deployment costs and improving resilience, reliability, and coordination. Incorporating the concept of virtualization and centralized RAN architecture enables to meet the overall requirements for both the customer and Mobile Network Operator. Functional splitting is one of the key enablers for 5G networks. It supports Centralized RAN, virtualized Radio Access Network, and the recent Open Radio Access Networks. This survey provides a comprehensive tutorial on the paradigms of the RAN architecture evolution, its key features, and implementation challenges. It provides a thorough review of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project functional splitting complemented by associated challenges and potential solutions. The survey also presents an overview of the fronthaul and its requirements and possible solutions for implementation, algorithms, and required tools whilst providinga vision of the evaluation beyond 5G second phase.