ZTE releases industry's first IP+Optical 5G Flexhaul transport solution

06 Mar 2017

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ZTE has released at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, the industry’s first IP+Optical 5G Flexhaul solution, a fronthaul and backhaul integrated solution based on Internet protocol (IP)+Optical technology.

By adopting the new IP+Optical architecture, this solution provides unified transport of 5G fronthaul and backhaul services on one device, as well as super-large bandwidth, ultra-low latency and software-defined networking (SDN)-based traffic engineering. It is estimated that ZTE’s 5G Flexhaul solution can reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) by 30 percent compared to traditional solutions.

It is widely known that 5G networks provide unparalleled experience for users in terms of bandwidth, latency and number of connections. Compared with the single scenario of 4G, 5G supports diverse scenarios including enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB)/massive machine type communications (mMTC)/ultra-reliable and low latency communications (uRLLC), and the key indicators of different scenarios vary significantly. Therefore, traditional networks face requirements that include structure reconfiguration, equipment upgrade and performance improvement. Building an efficient and cost-effective bearer network to meet the requirements for super-large bandwidth, ultra-low latency and cloudification of core networks and radio access networks (RANs) in the 5G era has become a huge challenge that global operators are facing.

ZTE’s 5G Flexhaul solution combines Flex Ethernet and IP+Optical architecture and provides super-large flexible pipeline transport capability for 5G fronthaul and backhaul services. The 5G Flexhaul solution implements end-to-end (E2E) application of IP+Optical synergy and provides unified planning, scheduling, management and maintenance by SDN controllers. IP+Optical integrated devices are used in the mass access layer to reduce network construction costs and save equipment room space. It implements super-large-bandwidth transport by multi-wavelength connection between adjacent nodes. Additionally, with the FlexE feature, it can flexibly isolate sub-channels of different services to provide optimal forwarding plane support for 5G bearer network slicing. The ZXCTN 6180H, a 5G transport pre-commercial equipment that is also showcased at MWC, is only 3RU high and supports up to 1T networking capacity of one access ring.

In addition to super-large pipeline transport capability, the 5G Flexhaul solution has flexible transport latency capability. The latency budget allocated to the fronthaul network by 5G cloud radio-access network (C-RAN) is less than 100us. In the forwarding plane, the 5G Flexhaul solution supports fast forwarding and ordinary forwarding modes, which can be selected according to the service type. The fast forwarding mode is used for services that are time sensitive. The time sensitive network (TSN) technology is used to reduce the switching latency between the upper and lower service nodes from 30 microseconds to several microseconds. The intermediate node uses optical bypass technology to achieve a forwarding latency that is less than 1 microsecond. It effectively meets 5G low latency requirements and provides a powerful guarantee for new services and network architectures.

The cloudification feature included in 5G will bring flexible, ubiquitous connections. The 5G Flexhaul solution, based on SDN-based traffic engineering, can efficiently build ubiquitous connections and dynamically optimize network traffic according to the information collected by the traffic monitor to match the tidal effect of the network and substantially increase resource utilization.

“ZTE continues its constant innovation to provide competitive solutions and products for global operators. As 5G technology is bringing in a new network revolution, ZTE responds actively and highly promotes the application and trial operation of 5G transport technologies. ZTE has carried out early-stage research and discussions with a number of operators about a cooperation in 5G fronthaul and backhaul technology. The 5G Flexhaul solution will greatly help global operators build a future-proof, flexible, cost-effective and integrated 5G transport network,” said Mr. Zhao Fuchuan, Chief Engineer of ZTE 5G Transport Solution.

For more information, visit http://www.zte.com.cn/global/

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