Skip to main content
Apr 23 2019

Discover the best microwave transport path to 5G network slicing

This is part of our ‘5G Anyhaul’ blog series providing expert insights and best practices to help you prepare your transport network for 5G and support innovative services that create new revenue opportunities.

If anyone doubts that microwave transport will be ready for 5G, think again. With carrier aggregation and mmWave deployments, microwave networks provide the high throughput and low latency to meet even the most demanding 5G service. With carrier Software Defined Networking (SDN), microwave networks are managed automatically and dynamically to provide extreme reliability and maintain performance whatever the demand.

Together, these technologies enable a third capability that will give 5G a business-winning sizzle for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) – network slicing. With network slicing, end users get capacity, latency, reliability, coverage, security and other network performance characteristics tailored to their needs. The user experience will be the same as if they were being served by their own dedicated physical network built just for them.

Network slicing enables the creation and delivery of innovative services that will drive CSP business growth for the next decade and beyond. CSPs will be able to offer innovative services not possible with 3G/4G networks, allowing them to win revenue from new customer segments.

Plotting a path through the network

Microwave transport networks support around half of all base stations globally. Empowering them to support network slicing helps CSPs to re-use existing investments as they deploy 5G.

This is achieved by implementing carrier SDN to dynamically create a path, with the specific capabilities needed for the network slice, through the transport network from Radio Access Network to the core network or edge application servers. Carrier SDN uses open interfaces to automatically discover the network topology and use the performance characteristics of each physical link in the network to figure out an end-to-end route. Adding a new base station site as part of network densification, for example, becomes a simple task. The new site is assigned an IP address and the SDN automatically provisions all the other end-points with routing information to reach the new destination

Implementing a Layer 3 Virtual Private Network (L3VPN) approach to network slicing ensures that traffic on one slice is prevented from interfering with traffic on another slice. Putting the VPN on Layer 3 also benefits from the high level of flexibility and scalability of IP with automated routing.

A few clicks are all it takes

The Nokia Network Services Platform (NSP) supports L3VPN for automated service deployment. It enables network slicing while retaining the simplicity of microwave transport and its point-and-click interface. NSP also supports existing Layer 2 carrier Ethernet deployments. Co-existing Layer 2 and Layer 3 services, with simple migration from Layer 2 to Layer 3 when required, can be implemented without the need for specialist skills.

With multiple and fast-changing service requirements, carrier SDN is a cost-effective solution to add Layer 3 capabilities to the existing Wavence Microwave infrastructure to provide a fully programmable and responsive transport network.

With carrier aggregation, carrier SDN automation and network slicing implemented by the Nokia Network Services Platform, CSPs benefit from a transport network that solves the underlying network complexities of 5G ready and frees them up to focus on opening new business opportunities through innovation.

Visit our Microwave Anyhaul page to learn how we can help you prepare your transport network for 5G and support innovative services that create new revenue opportunities.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #anyhaul #5G #microwave #networkslicing 

About Tamas Madarasz

Tamas is portfolio marketing manager for Nokia’s Mobile Network Solutions. With 15 years experience in wireless technologies and MSc degrees in both Economics and Electrical Engineering, feel free to ask him anything about the latest mobile applications!

Tweet me at @t_madarasz