An Optimal Deployment Framework for Multi-Cloud Virtualized Radio Access Networks
Virtualized radio access networks (vRAN) are emerging as a key component of wireless cellular networks, and it is therefore imperative to optimize their architecture. vRANs are decentralized systems where the Base Station (BS) functions can be split between the edge Distributed Units (DUs) and Cloud computing Units (CUs); hence they have many degrees of design freedom. We propose a framework for optimizing the number and location of CUs, the function split for each BS, and the association and routing for each DU-CU pair. We combine a linearization technique with a cutting-planes method to expedite the exact problem solution. The goal is to minimize the network costs and balance them with the criterion of centralization, i.e., the number of functions placed at CUs. Using data-driven simulations we find that multi-CU vRANs achieve cost savings up to 28% and improve centralization by 77%, compared to single-CU vRANs. Interestingly, we see non-trivial trade-offs among centralization and cost, which can be aligned or conflicting based on the traffic and network parameters. Our work sheds light on the vRAN design problem from a new angle, highlights the importance of deploying multiple CUs, and offers a rigorous optimization tool for balancing costs and performance.