In modern implementations of Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN), the fronthaul transport network will often be packet-based and it will have a multi-hop architecture built with general-purpose switches using network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN). This paper studies the joint design of uplink radio and fronthaul transmission strategies for a C-RAN with a packet-based fronthaul network. To make an efficient use of multiple routes that carry fronthaul packets from remote radio heads (RRHs) to cloud, as an alternative to more conventional packet-based multi-route reception or coding, a multiple description coding (MDC) strategy is introduced that operates directly at the level of baseband signals. MDC ensures an improved quality of the signal received at the cloud in conditions of low network congestion, i.e., when more fronthaul packets are received within a tolerated deadline. The advantages of the proposed MDC approach as compared to the traditional path diversity scheme are validated via extensive numerical results.