Total Cost of Ownership of Digital vs. Analog Radio-Over-Fiber Architectures for 5G Fronthauling
Journal article, 2020

The article analyzes the total cost of ownership (TCO) of 5G fronthauling solutions based on analog and digital radio-over-fiber (RoF) architectures in cloud radio access networks (C-RANs). The capital and operational expenditures (CAPEX, OPEX) are assessed, for a 10-year period, considering three different RoF techniques: intermediate frequency analog RoF (IF-A-RoF), digital signal processing (DSP) assisted analog RoF (DSP-A-RoF), and digital RoF (D-RoF) based on the common public radio interface (CPRI) specifications. The greenfield deployment scenario under exam includes both fiber trenching (FT) and fiber leasing (FL) options. The TCO is assessed while varying (i) the number of aggregated subcarriers, (ii) the number of three-sector antennas located at the base station, and (iii) the mean fiber-hop length. The comparison highlights the significance that subcarrier aggregation has on the cost efficiency of the analog RoF solutions. In addition, the analysis details the contribution of each cost category to the overall CAPEX and OPEX values. The obtained results indicate that subcarrier aggregation via DSP results in high cost efficiency for a mobile fronthaul network, while a CPRI-based architecture together with FL brings the highest OPEX value.


total cost of ownership (TCO)

operational expenditure (CAPEX)

common public radio interface (CPRI)

operational expenditure (OPEX)


optical fronthaul

cloud radio access networks (C-RAN)


Aleksejs Udalcovs

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Marco Levantesi

Polytechnic University of Turin

P. J. Urban

West Pomeranian University of Technology

D. A. A. Mello

State University of Campinas

Roberto Gaudino

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Oskars Ozolins

Polytechnic University of Turin

Paolo Monti

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Communication, Antennas and Optical Networks

IEEE Access

2169-3536 (ISSN) 21693536 (eISSN)

Vol. 8 223562-223573 9293022

Smart City Concepts in Curitiba - low-carbon transport and mobility in a digital society

VINNOVA (2019-04893), 2019-12-01 -- 2023-05-31.

Subject Categories

Computer Engineering


Communication Systems



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