5G X-haul Transport Networks and Coherent

By Lisa Crewe | Posted on November 5, 2020

5G TransporUsing your mobile phone for a call, directions, or any other data request only travels over the wireless network from your smartphone to a cell site radio. The rest of the journey is handled by the transport network.  5G introduces new network architectures and service requirements that will have key implications for how network operators design transport networks to cost-effectively deliver a good mobile broadband experience.

5G Driving Increased Bandwidth Demands
According to Cisco’s Annual Internet Report, globally, there will be 1.4 billion total 5G connections by 2023.  Network infrastructure being deployed to support 5G is driving bandwidths higher than legacy infrastructure can support based on traditional optical transmission technology. 5G networks are expected to have traffic from a higher number of endpoints to aggregate, compared to legacy 4G LTE. These drivers for increased bandwidth [demand] are creating a challenge for legacy optical service provider edge and access infrastructure to support this traffic.

The application of coherent technology to the existing network infrastructure may be a competitive differentiator for service providers looking to support the scale and capacity needed in the 5G era.

Coherent Moves into Edge and Access
Much progress has been made over the past decade to reduce the size, power and cost of coherent solutions which has enabled its evolution from supporting long-haul to metro networks. More recently, requirements from data center network operators for high-capacity, high-density, solutions in pluggable form factors widely used in switch and router slots have driven industry-wide investments into ultra-compact, low-power and economical coherent solutions that can be manufactured in high volumes.

Coherent solutions have very good receiving sensitivity, and are extremely tolerant to fiber types, chromatic dispersion, polarization mode dispersion (PMD), and back reflections, which can simplify operational deployment in edge and access networks. In particular, providers offering 5G wireless and enterprise services, can benefit from coherent technology because it has ample optical margins which can easily handle the condition and reaches of the access fiber plant resulting in shorter provisioning times.

Acacia’s Edge and Access Portfolio
With the coming of 5G and edge computing, the time is right for coherent optics to take the next step and migrate to edge and access networks. Acacia has a long-standing track record of driving coherent into new market applications by delivering the technology, scalability, feature set, and innovation that service providers need to maintain and grow their networks over time. Leveraging our 10 years of high-performance coherent transmission expertise, Acacia recently announced a portfolio of products to address 5G wireless X-haul applications.   This portfolio includes:

Acacia QSFP-DD CFP2-DCO products-Oct_2020All of Acacia’s edge and access solutions leverage its 3D Siliconization approach, which utilizes high-volume manufacturing processes and benefits from the maturity of Acacia’s silicon photonics technology.

5G Transport & Network Strategies Virtual Event
With the completion of 3GPP Release 16 this summer, 5G moves into an exciting new phase of advanced use cases and rich applications for consumers and, increasingly, enterprises.  This week, Light Reading’s 5G Transport & Networking Strategies Digital Symposium will discuss this, and more, and Acacia is excited to be speaking at this event.  If you plan to attend, don’t miss Tom Williams, Acacia’s VP of Marketing, on the panel “Transport Architecture Evolution for 5G Phase 2 Services” on Thursday, Nov 5th at 1:20 pm.

If you want to learn more about Acacia’s growing portfolio of edge and access solutions, feel free to contact us.