How are Optical Networks Embracing 5G?

How are Optical Networks Embracing 5G?

Lester D'Souza, Enterprise Networking Mag | Tuesday, June 23, 2020

With the mobile phone users expecting 5G to let them use faster internet, it will open new use cases that have not to be conceived yet.

Fremont, CA: The emergence of the next generation of mobile broadband standard 3G is predicted to have a massive impact on the mobile backhaul architecture. Other than driving up the per-cell throughput by at least 10x when compared to 4G/LTE, 5G is also expected to lead to a massive 100x increase in the number of user devices via the Internet of Things (IoT), a substantial reduction in network latencies by a factor of 10x to support real-time tactile Internet applications and an ultra-reliable network for smooth service experience. 5G is introducing various new features like enhanced coordinated multipoint (CoMP), dual connectivity, and carrier aggregation that will make radio access networks (RAN) more complex to construct. Together these changes will put higher demands on the transport network and have a disruptive impact on the optical network architecture to accommodate these requirements better. The advent of 5G, optical networks is expected to display three significant changes.

Top 10 Optical Networking Solution Companies - 2019Mobile Backhaul is evolving to Crosshaul (X-haul): Mobile backhaul refers to the section of the telecom network that transports cellular traffic from base stations at cell towers to the nearest traffic switching center. While multiple backhaul options are available today with the arrival of pre-5G/5G mobile operators are fast gravitating towards optical fiber as the physical medium of choice. 5G is introducing new radio access architectures like C-RAN (centralized RAN) using new protocols such as CPRI/eCPRI to connect multiple remote radio heads at street level to a centralized cloud-resident baseband unit at the macro base station. 

Open and Virtualized Networks: The ramification of next-generation technologies like 5G is driving a significant transformation to a software-defined network (SDN) paradigm that makes these networks more programmable to allow a more agile deployment of new applications and faster instantiation of services. With SDN, telecom operators envision re-architecting their systems such that new services can be turned up automatically when on-demand as opposed to taking months of hard manual processes. The Network Function Virtualization (NFV) virtualizes proprietary network appliances for special functions like firewalls, routers, switches, intrusion detection, NAT, and DNS such that they run in software often implemented in cloud service frameworks. 

5G will represent a significant advancement compared to previous mobile technology generations due to an explosion in the number of network-enabled IoT devices, greater fiberization and densification of cell sites, and a “cloudified” RAN architecture. 

See also: Top IoT Companies

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