For successful deployment of 5G, mobile network operators (MNOs) need transport technologies that can meet stringent throughput, latency and reliability requirements over increasingly densified networks. 5G Americas, the wireless industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas, today published a whitepaper titled Innovations in 5G Backhaul Technologies, highlighting new innovative backhaul, midhaul and fronthaul transport technologies for 5G networks.
The fifth generation of wireless cellular (“5G”) is driving increasing demands on mobile operator networks, which are faced with the need to improve operational efficiency and reduce the time required to deliver new high-throughput, low-latency network architectures to support emerging use cases. New wireless options like Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB) and significant advances in wireline like Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC), Passive Optical Networks (PON), Ethernet, and Wave Division Multiplexing (WDM) can be used to efficiently and cost-effectively transport data between the 5G core network and the 5G radio access network.
Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas said, “5G network operators are today faced with an increasing array of choices in designing, architecting, and managing their networks. Operators can now select from a variety of wireless and wireline transport options to address the specific topologies and use cases envisioned for their mobile wireless network.”
Innovations in 5G Backhaul Technologies delves into these new 5G transport technologies, providing details into their specific advantages and disadvantages. Factors such as the specific application, deployment scenario, existing infrastructure and market situation are covered in deep detail.
One such key innovation is Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB), which was standardized in 3GPP Release 16 and will be further enhanced in Release 17. IAB re-purposes some of the existing spectrum used for the 5G radio air interface for backhaul purposes as well. This technology has generated strong interest in the mobile wireless industry, since IAB is expected to provide a cost-efficient and fast time-to-market backhaul solution.
Ranjeet Bhattacharya, Principal Solutions Director, Ericsson, and co-leader for the project, said: “Optimized backhaul is a key challenge for efficient 5G deployment, and innovative wireless solutions like Integrated Access and Backhaul could be a game changer.”
This paper addresses the technology aspects of IAB that are part of the standard, its use cases and deployment considerations, and an overview of IAB-related future evolution research and studies ongoing in the industry.
Aside from IAB, Innovations in 5G Backhaul Technologies also explores the following:
- key requirements of 5G transport and various technology options available
- overview of business drivers for alternative transport technologies
- Details on HFC, PON, Ethernet and WDM technologies, including architecture, business drivers, recent advances, deployment scenarios and future trends
Additionally, recent advances in hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) network, passive optical network (PON), and Ethernet technology make these solutions equally promising options for 5G transport. Both HFC and PON are already extensively deployed in areas where 5G will be in the most demand, specifically dense urban and urban environments. Leveraging existing HFC and PON deployments significantly reduces the time-to-market and cost of deploying 5G.
Dave Morley, Director, 5G Technology & Operations, Shaw Communications, and co-leader for the project, said: “While dark fiber reaches 65 percent of macro sites in North America today, further network densification will require operators to leverage other efficient 5G transport options such as HFC, which currently reaches nearly every building on the North American continent.”
The paper Innovations in 5G Backhaul Technologies is available for free download on the 5G Americas website. Blog post by Chris Pearson, and presentation slides are also featured on the 5G Americas website.