The ability to evolve to future 5G requirements is a key factor in Infinera’s Mobile Fronthaul and Backhaul Solutions. As 5G standards evolve, multiple future fronthaul scenarios exist that could lead to network investment dead-ends if deployed fronthaul solutions are not able to adapt. There are a number of critical attributes of a solution that can support 4G today and evolve smoothly to 5G in the future:
- Low latency and highly accurate synchronization. Advanced 5G applications, such as autonomous vehicles, require extremely low latency and high-performance network synchronization in both fronthaul and backhaul networks.
- Configuration flexibility. The solution must be reconfigurable in software to support anticipated fronthaul protocol changes and must include hardened and non-hardened platform options to support different deployment environments.
- Openness. The solution must be fully programmable via software-defined network (SDN) controllers and orchestrators, and able to support any 5G radio solution.
To address these challenges, Infinera has introduced fully open and flexible solutions to extend mobile transport evolution to 5G:
Infinera 5G-ready Mobile Fronthaul Solution. Adding a new range of flexponders for mobile fronthaul provides mobile operators with deployment flexibility via rack-mounted unit, hardened access unit and hardened clamshell options. Mobile operators also benefit from functional flexibility in which all units are fully reconfigurable to operate as transponders, as muxponders or in hybrid mode, a level of flexibility that Infinera believes is unique to the industry. The flexponders enable service flexibility with support for Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) and Open Base Station Architecture Initiative (OBSAI) mobile fronthaul protocols and Ethernet in both 4G and 5G environments. The flexponder features are coupled with the high-performance capabilities required for mobile fronthaul, such as low latency, superior synchronization and new fronthaul-specific capabilities, including real-time delay compensation that enables better support for RAN in fiber protection scenarios.
Infinera Packet-Optical Mobile Backhaul Solution. Infinera’s Mobile Backhaul Solution now includes an EMXP Access Unit that extends Infinera’s range of packet-optical transport switches to hardened environments such as street and cell site cabinets. The unit supports a common software and feature set with the rest of the EMXP range, which includes Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) services, low latency, superior synchronous Ethernet and 1588v2 synchronization and sophisticated network resilience options.
Infinera Open Architecture. Infinera’s Mobile Fronthaul and Backhaul Solutions are designed to be fully open to support SDN control by any orchestrator and offer the ability to transport any radio vendor’s equipment. For mobile backhaul, the full range of Infinera’s EMXP units now also supports a direct openflow interface, controlled by Infinera’s Xceed Software Suite. This provides a multi-layer SDN control platform and SDN applications.
The hardened clamshell and EMXP Access Unit are scheduled for availability in the second quarter of this year; the rest of the products and features listed above are shipping and available today.