Independent market research and competitive analysis of next-generation business and technology solutions for service providers and vendors

Independent market research and 
competitive analysis of next-generation 
business and technology solutions for 
service providers and vendors

Independent market research and competitive analysis of next-generation business and technology solutions for service providers and vendors

Delivering 5G with High-Bandwidth Photonics A Heavy Reading white paper produced for Intel AUTHOR: SIMON STANLEY, ANALYST AT LARGE, HEAVY READING EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The shift from 4G to 5G is driving a massive increase in demands on wireless infrastructure, including fronthaul and backhaul networks. 5G applications demand both high-bandwidth and ...low latency connections over the radio link and through to application servers. The architecture of the wireless radio access network (RAN) is evolving, and this can have a big impact on the optical solutions used for fronthaul and backhaul networks. 5G specifications have added significant flexibility to the RAN architecture and transport network options. Carriers need to consider the trade-offs between lower cost baseband processing and fronthaul network bandwidths. Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) can be used to support low latency fronthaul packet-based links and time synchronization. Some combinations of network bandwidth RAN architecture will require fronthaul links supporting 50 Gbit/s, 100 Gbit/s, and higher bandwidths. Silicon photonics can provide similar benefits in 5G fronthaul applications as they do in the data center. Centralized RAN (C-RAN) architectures offer some clear benefits but do drive higher fronthaul bandwidths. Millimeter wave (mmWave) deployments will open up a significant spectrum and also drive higher fronthaul bandwidths. There are some clear trends, but not all of the options available make sense in practical 5G network deployments. In this white paper, Heavy Reading highlights the key technologies, identifies some of the important trends, and discusses practical implementations for 5G network deployments. DATA TRAFFIC GROWTH AND THE MOVE TO 5G The shift to 4G wireless and LTE has enabled significant growth in mobile data traffic and the deployment of services for other applications, including Internet of Things (IoT). The first steps are now being made in the move to 5G, which will drive further massive growth of mobile data traffic and a more diverse set of applications running over wireless networks. Initial deployments are rolling out in the U.S., South Korea, Switzerland, and elsewhere. According to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), 59 countries are rolling out 5G or preparing for 5G. Figure 1: Growth of 4G Data Traffic and Shift to 5G Source: Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, February 2019 © HEAVY READING | INTEL | DELIVERING 5G | AUGUST 2019 2 Figure 1 above, taken from the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update released in February 2019, shows a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46% for mobile traffic from 2017 to 2022. During this period, the 4G share is forecast to be steady at 70%; 4G data traffic is projected to grow in line with overall traffic demand. At the same time, the 5G data traffic share is expected to grow from almost nothing in 2019 to 12% in 2022, and the share of 3G and 2G will decline as these services are used less frequently and carriers drop support from their networks. Leading use cases for 5G and technologies are shown in Figure 2 below. Enterprise and Read the full Independent market research and competitive analysis of next-generation business and technology solutions for service providers and vendors.