So when we are talking about RAN Evolution, we have to see first the difference between Centralized and Distributed RAN in different mobile generations.
For Example, the differences between the different generations are as below
- 2G was a fully distributed network that means everything was at the cell site (BTS).
- 3G some of the centralized functions exist in (RNC) or centralized controller.
- 4G is about All-flat architecture, like 2G, everything is distributed at the cells site (eNodeB).
- 5G is back again, like 3G, to centralizing concept but using extra feature decomposing the data plane and control plan or like the CUPS (Control and User Plane Separation) in the core network. But also part of the user plane can be distributed at the cell site.
So Regarding the 5G RAN, We can centralize the control plane in a data center and have flexibility towards where to host the data plane part based on the use case, as 5G can support different use cases not just the consumer but also IoT and enterprise.