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5G Needs Expansion of Optical Fiber Network

Posted By: technopediasite

According to the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) latest “Trends in Telecommunication Reform” report, ongoing capital investments related to fiber infrastructure are expected to total a staggering $144.2B between 2014 and 2019. One of the primary drivers for this immense capital investment into fiber infrastructure deployments comes out of thin air, in the form of tomorrow’s 5G radios. I want to summarized the main goals that why optical fiber required for the 5G, which are listed below-
➤Up to 1000 times increased in bandwidth, per unit area

➤Up to 100 times more connected devices
➤Up to 10Gbps connection rates to mobile devices in the field
➤A perceived network availability of 99.999%
➤A perceived 100% network coverage
➤Maximum of 1ms end-to-end round trip delay (latency)
➤Up to 90% reduction in network energy utilization.

4G vs 5G Speeds

Today macro cell is served by a 1GbE packet-based optical MBH network link, although the typical traffic over this 1GbE physical connection is about 200Mbps to 300Mbps, leaving some room for growth, for 4G networks. total aggregate bandwidth consumed by all of the concurrent mobile users to a typical macro cell is roughly equivalent to the maximum theoretical download speed of a single LTE-Advanced  user connection. Although current MBH networks may suffice for 4G today, the promised access speeds of 5G is likely going to overload existing MBH networks quite quickly.

MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) connecting 3G and 4G cells, small and macro, via fiber are also laying the foundation for 5G, which has maximum theoretical download speeds from 1Gbps for high mobility users  to 10Gbps for low mobility users (ex. stationary, walking). Even if the maximum theoretical download speed of 10Gbps were scaled down by 90% to 1Gbps, the entire 1GbE MBH connection to a typical macro cell today, intended to serve all concurrent 4G users, would be consumed by one bandwidth-hungry 5G user.

5G for Fixed Broadband

Another unsystematic works is using fixed 5G access as a broadband replacement technology, which some carriers are considering. Although the “mobile” part is removed once the 5G radios are installed in a residential or business premise, they’ll still have a major effect on the RAN, and every part of the network between cell sites and data centers. Deployments of fixed 5G broadband access should be quicker and easier to deploy than running cables to premises meaning the rate that bandwidth can be turned up is accelerated, which will exacerbate bandwidth pressures on all parts of the global network.Although 5G fixed accesses will result in less fiber required to the premise, more bandwidth is turned up faster, meaning more RAN fiber.

Essentially all metro, regional, long haul, and submarine networks today are fiber-based, meaning they can already scale to voracious DCI growth by leveraging the very latest in optical transmission technologies. The access network, which includes the RAN, is the one part of the global network infrastructure that still has a significant amount of copper and wireless (microwave/millimeter wave) technology deployed, which will be a problem for 5G deployments, due to the promised speeds of this new technology. Areas targeted for 5G coverage require lots of fiber to be successful, and not just for capacity reasons, but also to meet the other rather formidable 5G performance goals related to network diversity, availability, and coverage, since all three of these goals are achieved through a greater number of interconnected paths, of fiber. It’s rather ironic that the projected performance goals of 5G wireless will depend on the availability of wire line fiber.

The stringent requirements for 5G heavily rely upon the interconnected backbone in the short term. Intensive 5G fiber-optic backhaul is necessary to seamlessly stream bandwidth-intensive applications such as 4K video. For a while it seemed this technology was in the future, but with the most recent World Radio communication Conference (WRC) already allocating some of the millimeter-wave spectrum to 5G and major U.S. telecommunications companies such as Verizon and AT&T already announcing plans to launch 5G service by late 2019, it seems gigabit high speeds, and low-latency cellular capabilities are fast approaching. This invariably requires the use of fiber optics to minimize the time-to-market of massive small cell deployments—a major milestone for the roadmap to 5G. The benefits of low cost and reliability combined with major advancements toward 40-Gbit/sec and 100-Gbit/sec speeds have made fiber optics a default option for many leading mobile operators.

The ubiquitous 4G cellular technology is poised to be replaced by 5G. However, the lofty goals for the level of connectivity required in 5G networks has been subject to much criticism. However, these requirements were generated in order to support the nearly exponential increase in connected devices in the coming decades. The current prediction, according to Statista, is 75.4 billion connected devices by 2025. This number includes both Internet of Things (IoT) devices and mobile phones where short-range IoT devices are expected to surpass the number of mobile phones by 2025. In the IoT space, the myriad system requirements have led to a proliferation of standards committees and hardware designs backed by a variety of protocols. So it follows that there are often somewhat disjointed technologies with compatibility issues in the IoT realm. Systems such as Zigbee, Z-wave, and Bluetooth are really meant for short- to medium-range static applications with nominal throughputs (< 1 Mbit/sec).

Early in 2018, AT&T claimed they would have 5G available by the last quarter of the year, and Verizon was soon to follow. In reality, 2018 “5G” is more likely an advanced 4G LTE and a 5G precursor. Fixed wireless access services are already being launched and traffic offload to the unlicensed spectra are already being implemented to support high traffic and throughputs.Moreover, the current infrastructure is being modified to support LTE-Advanced (LTE-A). Small cell installations are well underway with 13,000 already deployed for Verizon’s 5G infrastructure. This densification will continue along with the implementation of peripheral technologies (e.g. 2G, 3G, AirGig, WiGig, 10G-PON) to support seamless 5G gigabit speeds even at times of high traffic demand.

According to AT&T, AirGig will be capable of delivering multigigabit internet on a license-free spectrum to keep up with the anticipated speeds of 5G networks. The IEEE 802.22 standard, also known as “WiFar,” leverages the unused sub-1-GHz television white space to offer link distances of up to 20 km with rates as high as 30 Mbits/sec—still not even close to the 20-Gbit/sec peak data rates for 5G. On the satellite front, geostationary high throughput satellite technology leveraging the Ka-band and, implementing frequency reuse schemes, is allowing for data rates approaching 100 Mbits/sec globally. Furthermore, low- and medium-earth orbiting constellations with 1000-plus projected satellites are emerging that will provide “internet to the poles.”
While fiber runs are costly as routing optical cabling through the ground requires the unearthing and installation of cabling as well as its respective maintenance, it may still be necessary in the short-term to provide a more immediate solution for broadband mobile and internet. Indiana Fiber Network, for instance, has already invested $20 million in fiber network for urban and rural geographies. Most of the previously described technologies are still in their infancy compared to the technology readiness level of fiber.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for 5G backhaul and that would be antithetical to the trend toward “network slicing.” While millimeter wave backhaul will be critical in both dense urban environments and even potentially in rural environments with AirGig, it is evident that fiber plays a vital role in supporting the ever-increasing data demand for both the short-term and long-term. Microwave, millimeter wave, Ethernet, and fiber will likely dominate 5G precursors such as LTE-A and ultimately 5G backhaul installations.

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