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Jul 10 2019

Evolving microwave transport for 5G and beyond

The new mobile era has truly begun as operators continue to launch live 5G networks. Microwave transport is playing a key role in 5G transition because it can provide cost-effective backhaul for 5G base stations and small cells and bring high-speed connectivity where it’s needed. Operators are now recognizing this role and looking to ensure that their microwave transport networks will be ready to meet the current and long-term needs of 5G networks.

Most operators know that their microwave transport networks will need to support the extreme speed, latency and availability requirements of 5G. But microwave transport must evolve in additional ways to ensure that operators can address any challenge or opportunity that 5G brings. For example, operators need new microwave solutions that:

  • Support and optimize multiple 5G backhaul architectures
  • Meet the much higher throughput demands of 5G applications
  • Efficiently backhaul 5G in urban, suburban and rural environments
  • Provide cost-effective support for value-added 5G services
  • Include management capabilities that can adapt to future needs
  • Support standards-based operation, including cross-segment synchronization

Our experience tells us that microwave vendors need to change, too. Vendors should not only focus on throughput and should not forget about the current and future usability and manageability of the network. The use of hybrid microwave solutions will also bring a lot of limitations, and it is clearly proven that only full-packet solutions are clearly the future.

To make a smooth transition to 5G, operators need full-packet microwave solutions that address all mobile backhaul scenarios, from long haul to small cell backhaul. These solutions must provide best-in-class radio performance in compact form factors that can be deployed in a variety of environments.

The ideal solution will include a range of microwave transceivers that feature advanced radio technologies and multi-frequency carrier aggregation enabled by dual-band and wideband antennas. These transceivers should support an evolution from traditional backhaul to 5G-ready “anyhaul” by combining multi-gigabit throughput, ultra-low latency and full SDN programmability. They should also provide high reliability for urban, suburban and rural 5G applications.

Furthermore, the microwave solutions need to capitalize on analytics and software-defined networking (SDN) technologies. Analytics can provide critical insights that enable operators to pinpoint, address and resolve performance issues. The combination of programmable SDN platforms and analytics can help operators automate the network and service processes to reduce operational complexity and eliminate manual tasks.

Nokia Wavence addresses all of these needs with the industry’s most complete full-packet microwave transport portfolio. It is part of a comprehensive mobile anyhaul solution that also includes broadband, IP and optical anyhaul capabilities. The solution is combined with Nokia Network Services Platform and enables Carrier SDN and L3VPN to support dynamic end-to-end service management and network slicing – two key 5G capabilities.

The newest release of Wavence adds features that will allow operators to ensure that they can meet the demand for future-proof 5G-ready microwave transport. These features include:

  • L3VPN extensions that support network optimization and service automation for different architectures
  • Cross-polarization interference cancelling (XPIC) technology built into 2 GHz E-Band units to provide 20 Gbps throughput, which can support the high performance demands of 5G applications
  • Microwave transceivers that enable 5G backhaul for rural use cases by supporting low frequencies and the ability to extend to 16+0 configurations
  • Compact and optimized indoor units with L3VPN support, which helps operators optimize total cost of ownership
  • IPv6 management built into standalone microwave transceivers to support current and future 5G applications
  • Full support of 1588 TC/BC synchronization to ensure proper 5G operation

With Wavence, you get microwave transport that provides the performance, reliability, flexibility and innovative features you need to succeed with 5G and beyond.

Want to know more?

Visit our web page to learn more about how Wavence can help you evolve your microwave transport network to prepare for the 5G future.

Read our white paper to learn how mobile transport networks need to evolve to support new network transport demands, from network slicing and densification to RAN decomposition and network function virtualization (NFV).

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

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