About Heron Consortium


About Heron Consortium

Leading the future of network technology

When we join together great things can happen

HERON (HEterogenous Radio and Optical Networks) is an Israeli consortium comprising 13 industrial partners and 15 research teams
from 6 academic institutes. HERON is focused on development of essential building blocks for the 5G next generation Mobile Technology meeting requirements in three major areas - Network E2E Architecture, RAN innovative Network Solutions and essential 5G engines and optimization. HERON consortium is endorsed, funded and operating within the framework of Israel Innovation Authority.

Heron has started its activity on September 2016. HERON consortium has conducted an intensive effort, during its first year work, dedicated to the evaluation of several network architectures and finally an agreed 5G architecture profile is selected.

Heron Consortium

 Heron's participants and its advisory board, following successive brain storming sessions conducted during the first year, have created a potential Eco System solution, aimed at achieving Interoperability among the Engines to be developed by the Heron companies. This Eco System environment will help in developing a coherent Proof of Concept (POC) where a system demonstrator is planned towards end of the three years project.HERON design principles aim to answer the following requirements:

  • Scalability - The system should answer market needs as it evolves. Cost is a prime factor in order to facilitate market penetration

  • Coverage - The system should address firstly Hot Spots and then to spread to cover the entire city

  • Dynamic and Adaptive system - The systems is self-organized and possess dynamic and adaptive features in all situations and applications and support QoE

  • Basic network - Scalable and support simple deployment and maintenance

  • The system engine is composed of high quality engines lend to easy connections and support simple maintenance

  • The system is reliable, distributed or centralized and built by simple connection of engines

  • The system should support COMP, SON, NFV, SDN

  • Interoperability complies with the standard but can utilize undefined components in order to achieve advantage edge

Heron System Architecture

Heron architecture is based on 5 main subsystems:

  1. Virtualized BB processing unit run in Data Centers
All or part of the Base Band (BB) functions means PHY (L1) and Protocol Layers (L2/L3/L4) virtualized (vRAN) and run on one or more central locations (C-RAN). C-RAN center connected to remote RRHs or Smart RRHs.

  1. RRH or sRRH (smart sRRH) - Distributed Units (DU)  
The RRHs could be “dump” without processing capability, or smart RRH with a processing capabilities to run all or part of the BaseBand (BB) functions. sRRH is capable of BS functional split. In case a DU run all or higher BB layers for several sRRH, it is  considered as D-RAN.In order to provide a scalable and modular solution in line with 3GPP definitions and requirements and answering future market needs and technology trends, Heron has defined D-RAN which can be used as a smart RRH or DU enabling complete or partial functionality of the BB units.

  1. Core network - CU
Include all NGC core entities for traffic routing, mobility management, privacy, Subscriber Data Base etc. this section is described more in details see TR 23.501.

  1. High X-Haul (Fronthaul and Backhaul) network
The x-Haul network consolidates both the FH (Front Haul) and BH (back Haul) resources is based on MP2MP network topology that connects different 5G network functions including Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) that may include applications local servers light local management, light 5G NGC, vRAN  D-, or Distributed Units DU D-RAN, or NGC-CU), the sRRH (contains all or part of higher layers of the RAN Protocol stack). The x-haul data will be encapsulated using tunneling techniques over layer 2 Ethernet transport. The x-Haul enable MultiPoint to Multi Point interconnection between any two entities of the entire network, unless CPRI/ORI are used for interconnection between the RRHs and Compact-vRAN or C-RAN based on CPRI or ORI (TBD).

  1. Physical transmission layers
Various Physical transmission layer technologies will be supported, mainly based on Optical Fiber technologies (SFP+(10 Gbps), QSFP+(40Gbps)). The Layer2 transport solution will enable mp2mp connection with high level of multiplexing and load sharing. The same network will handle both FH and BH subnetworks. Figure-1 shows the 5 main subsystems of the Heron system interconnected by several Ethernet rings. The Compact-vRANs can act as a sRRH, or DU, or nano C-RAN, or even several collocated gNBs.