Edge caching and the centralization of baseband processing by means of the C-RAN architecture are among the most promising and transformative trends in the evolution of wireless networks. A key advantage of C-RAN is the possibility to perform cooperative transmission across multiple edge nodes, such as small cell base stations, thanks to centralized cloud processing. Cloud processing, however, comes at the cost of the potentially large delay entailed by fronthaul transmission between edge and cloud. In contrast, edge caching enables the low-latency transmission of popular multimedia content, but at the cost of constraining the operation of the edge nodes to decentralized transmission strategies with limited interference management capabilities. In order to accommodate the broad range of quality of service requirements of mobile broadband communication, in terms of spectral efficiency and latency, that are envisioned to be within the scope of 5G systems and beyond, this article considers a hybrid architecture, referred to as fog RAN (F-RAN), that harnesses the benefits of, and the synergies between, edge caching and C-RAN. In an F-RAN, edge nodes may be endowed with caching capabilities, while at the same time being controllable from a central cloud processor as in a C-RAN. In this article, an information-theoretic framework is presented that aims to characterize the main trade-offs between performance of an F-RAN, in terms of worst case delivery latency, and its resources: caching and fronthaul capacities.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science Applications
- Computer Networks and Communications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering