If 5G networks are to be utilised and deployed successfully, operators must consider upgrading and redesigning their fronthaul network. This was the stark warning from optical transceiver specialist, ProLabs at ECOC 2018 in Rome.
Speaking at the event, Ambroise Thirion, Technology Solutions specialist at ProLabs, recommended evolving architectures as the key to unlocking 5G’s full potential. “The 5G mobile network is coming and bringing considerable advantages for the consumer, yet the real challenge for telecom operators is deploying it,” he said. “The fifth-generation network will be a revolution and to support the massive bandwidth growth the entire network needs to evolve.
“This evolution needs to happen in terms of micro-cells and pico-cells and ultimately this will require a complete fronthaul network re-design. Service providers will need to take this approach and transition from CPRI to eCPRI, point-to-point / point-to-multipoint topology and RF over fibre. This will handle the expanding growth of 5G network elements comfortably.”
He explained that 5G is leading the way for a network evolution and is moving wireline and wireless services to coexist onto one single network. This single network will mean more M2M devices, mainly used for IoT applications, can harness its capabilities and reap the benefits further down the line.
His comments follow an announcement earlier this month that 5G trials will be getting underway soon throughout the West Midlands in the UK.
“While this news is a positive step for utilising IoT devices to their full potential, if the groundwork is not in place to support such activity the eventual deployment will be a recipe for disaster.”
He summarised: “Next generation and legacy passive optical network services must evolve over time for an effective and positive rollout. By coexisting with previous architectures such as GPON or EPON, the deployment of new optical networks will easier, quicker, and more cost-efficient.”