Analysis: Requirements on 5G Transport Networks + OTN Solutions and Technology Trends

5G – one of the most important topics in the industry – will create an ecosystem for information and communications technologies. Unlike previous 2G, 3G, and 4G networking, 5G upgrades mobile communications technologies and also provides a platform driving the creation of the future, fully connected, digital world and the network infrastructure for Internet of Things (IoT).

The creation of high requirements for bandwidth, capacity, latency, and networking flexibility of transport networks, services on 5G networks feature high bandwidth, low latency, and a massive number of connections. Building a unified transport network to meet the transport requirements of various 5G services is a major challenge.

Optical transport network (OTN) technology combines the advantages of optical transmission and electrical processing to provide end-to-end, hard, transparent pipe connections, powerful networking capabilities, and large-capacity transmission capabilities for long distances. OTN offers hard pipes to guarantee strict isolation of different services and service bandwidths. Its comprehensive mechanism for operation, administration, and maintenance (OAM) ensures high service transmission quality and facilitates network O&M. Reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexing (ROADM) and optical-layer wave-division multiplexing (WDM) technologies improve the fiber transmission capacity to a Tbps level and greatly reduce network latency.

The development and innovation of OTN technologies to maintain sustainable competitiveness and to efficiently carry 5G networks has become a major concern and research focus for the optical communications industry. This white paper will analyze requirements on 5G transport networks, propose OTN-based transport solutions, and explain the evolutionary trends of OTN technologies in the 5G era.

This white paper was originally published by Next Generation Optical Transport Network Forum, March 2018.

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