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Building an agile transport network for the 5G era

New services and applications are disrupting traditional business models and increasing pressure on transport networks. Optical network operators can’t address the challenges presented by 5G, IoT, Industry 4.0 and cloud with static, closed, manually operated transport networks. They need transport networks that can provide more connectivity, capacity and capability to support the dynamic new services of the 5G era.

Challenges for optical network operators

Optical network operators must address three key challenges to keep pace with changing service demands. First, scale and modernize network infrastructure by adding capacity while increasing performance, resiliency and determinism. Second, reduce cost per bit by streamlining end-to-end service operations and using network resources more efficiently. Third, boost network and service agility by automating service operations and making the network more responsive.

Evolving optical networks to deliver the extraordinary

Operators can tackle these challenges – and deliver the extraordinary experiences that customers expect – by evolving their optical networks to meet new transport requirements. To succeed with this evolution, they need new optical platforms that will enable them to:

  • Stay ahead of traffic growth by maximizing scale in the transport network
  • Optimize performance and service availability for every application
  • Increase automation and support zero-touch operations
  • Create new value with innovative applications that optimize and monetize network infrastructure
  • Provide robust security and high availability to protect in-flight data and preserve service continuity

Key building blocks for optical transformation

The best optical platforms for the 5G era will address these needs with innovations that enable massive scalability and high performance, support open programmability and strengthen security and resilience. These are the building blocks for a network transformation that leads to greater business success.

Massive scalability and high performance

Optical network operators will face unprecedented scale and performance demands as markets embrace 5G, IoT and Industry 4.0 and cloud. They need platforms that can maximize photonic, electro-optic and switching scale in the transport network and support every application with high levels of spectral efficiency and determinism. The essential capabilities include:

  • Coherent digital signal processors that optimize performance per application with unconstrained flexibility and extreme programmability. DSPs that support probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS) can optimize capacity and spectral efficiency and reduce operational complexity.
  • Advanced wavelength routing solutions that use CDC-F ROADMs and ultra-wideband options to improve network flexibility, reduce cost per bit and support efficient optical restoration.
  • Packet/OTN switches that can combine high levels of flexibility, efficiency and scalability to support multi-service, high-capacity services.
  • A converged multilayer control plane that can lower overall network costs and boost service velocity by simplifying planning and service provisioning.
  • A scalable converged transport network that can provide the flexibility required for anyhaul transport while meeting the synchronization and reliability requirements of each service. Solutions that implement time-sensitive networking will enable operators to support multiple RAN architectures, optimize performance and deploy services faster.

Open programmability

Highly programmable, open hardware and software solutions will help operators accelerate innovation, increase automation and get more value from the network. Sustainable DSP, wavelength routing and packet/OTN innovations can ease the transition to open optical networking. Software that supports node automation, service enablement and network analytics can help operators support digital services, achieve zero-touch operations and control CAPEX.

Enhanced security and resilience

Network attacks and breaches are increasing as thieves look for new ways to steal and profit from confidential data. Platforms that provide capabilities such as physical layer encryption with centralized key management, intrusion detection tools and OTDR can help operators ensure data integrity and preserve service continuity in a cost-effective way.

Learn how Nokia WaveFabric can help

Our WaveFabric equipment portfolio can help you transform your optical network for the 5G era. Backed by our game-changing PSE coherent silicon, open software and optical networking expertise, it provides the building blocks you need to meet new scale and performance demands, embrace open optical networking and secure your critical data.

Visit our web page  or download our brochure to discover how WaveFabric can help you build an optical foundation for greater business success.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia #optical #5G


Dave  Brown

About Dave Brown

Dave Brown is a senior manager of optical networking product marketing at Nokia. Dave’s experience includes product management and marketing roles in IC, electronic manufacturing services, and optical networking systems companies. He is the director of communications and past president of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF).

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