Decision Time in 5G Transport

Originally published by Light Reading
Author: Sterling Perrin

Network operators must build their transport networks in advance of mass 5G rollouts, making the next two to three years the critical timeframe for transport networks worldwide. Meanwhile, the available options for 5G transport abound and more are being developed. Operators have many decisions to make, but what is the best path forward?

To find some answers, Heavy Reading launched its first-ever 5G Transport Market Leadership Study with support from Ericsson, Fujitsu, Juniper and VIAVI Solutions. The analysis is anchored by a global survey of 104 qualified network operator respondents. Based on the new research, this blog summarizes some of the key issues and priorities in 5G fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul networks, collectively known as “Xhaul.” This is the second of two blogs in the series on 5G transport.

Technology winners
The centralized RAN (C-RAN) creates a new transport network segment — the fronthaul network — with new performance requirements and protocols. The CPRI Consortium created eCPRI specifically to economically meet the higher bandwidth requirements of 5G fronthaul compared to 4G fronthaul. Given the importance of C-RAN for 5G and the role that eCPRI will play in fronthaul transport, it’s not surprising that eCPRI topped the list of most important technologies for 5G in the Heavy Reading survey. Forty-eight percent of respondents picked eCPRI as “highly important.”

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