Ciena develops wireline architecture for 5G evolution

5G wireline backhaul
Image credit: hywards /

Ciena says it has developed an open and adaptive wireline network architecture to help operators scale their current 4G networks and prepare them for the impending evolution toward 5G.

Current 4G and future 5G networks require massively agile and scalable wireline networks. 5G itself is expected to offer 100x faster speeds, 10x lower latency, and 1000x higher data volumes, and support 100x more devices compared to 4G. This will enable the use of fixed wireless access (FWA), mobile broadband, augmented/virtual reality, IoT and many more applications. In turn, it will generate an enormous amount of traffic that needs to be stored, accessed, and moved across the network.

Ciena’s says its 5G solutions are designed to provide the scale and automation operators need to deliver a superior end-to-end user customer experience in this environment and usher in a new age of mobile connectivity.

4G and 5G networks will coexist for the foreseeable future and share the same wireline network infrastructure – between cell sites as well as to and from data centers, where accessed content is hosted. As mobile broadband and IoT traffic continues to grow exponentially on these networks, latency, throughput, reliability and security requirements will be extremely demanding, and require more than a simple network upgrade or expansion.

Ciena’s 5G solutions offer an open, scalable design that allows network operators to select best-of-breed products that meet stringent 4G and 5G network performance expectations and adapt to evolving demand characteristics over time.

The solutions are composed of Ciena’s existing converged packet optical and packet networking platform and Blue Planet SDN software, as well as new products and capabilities, including:

  • New deterministic packet capability that will support 4G/5G converged fronthaul/midhaul networks offering digital radio transport over standards-based Ethernet
  • New IP functionality that will provide the necessary connectivity features required for IP-based network infrastructures
  • Programmable network slicing capabilities that will allow network operators to logically partition and virtualize network resources from Layer 0 to Layer 3.

“The move to 5G won’t happen overnight, but it is necessary for operators to prepare for these changes if they want to stay competitive. Picking the right partner will be key to a successful transition to high-performance 5G networks,” said Monica Paolini, principal analyst at Senza Fili Consulting.

“With expected 5G performance gains ranging from 1,000 times the volume of data to ten times the reduction in latency, operators need to prepare their end-to-end wireline network now,” said Ciena CTO Steve Alexander.

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