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The analyst presentation will assess that status of 5G in North America, covering standards development, operator launch strategies, chipset and device viability, and the services and business opportunities that make 5G vital to modern growth economies. It will set the scene for the day by highlighting the key issues in 5G transport and backhaul.
Scale and performance requirements dictated by the 5G radio network and applications are forcing a radical re-think of the transport network that connects the macro and small cell sites to the core – including the fronthaul, midhaul, and backhaul portions. Significantly, before 5G can be rolled out at scale, operators will have to make a number of key decisions about "xhaul" protocols, technologies and architectures. There is currently much debate: should operators maintain classic distributed RAN architectures or move to a centralized/cloud RAN? Is dark fiber the best connectivity choice; or should operators adopt active DWDM systems or move to next-gen PON technologies? And how does migration to eCPRI impact all of the above? This panel session will explore the range of 5G transport options from fronthaul to backhaul and from optics to packets with the goal of mapping each to the specific requirements of the 5G radio access network and anticipated applications.
5G introduces a new, highly distributed system architecture that will enable operators to serve ultra-low-latency, highly reliable and high-bandwidth services. The architecture is part of a broader multiservice fixed/mobile transport network that is software-controlled, dynamically configurable and massively scalable. This session will examine the role of distributed service provider clouds in 5G transport, including how to connect edge data center locations and cloud-native applications using underlay and overlay networking, and how to automate transport capacity management using policy and SDN. It will consider how the "edge" is influenced by the operator's approach to RAN deployment and the how C-RAN and D-RAN determine transport requirements and topology.
As mobile operators build out their 5G radio infrastructure, cable operators have an opportunity to gain a significant share of the wholesale business. Cable operators are already key players in supplying 4G backhaul capacity to mobile operators, but 5G adds many new locations (via small cells) as well as massive capacity and stringent performance requirements (such as ultra-low latency). Is the cable infrastructure suitable for emerging 5G fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul requirements? Can MSOs use distributed access architecture (DAA) initiatives for 5G fronthaul/backhaul? In addition to addressing cable, this panel will explore opportunities and challenges faced by other types of alternative access providers seeking to benefit from the coming 5G fronthaul/backhaul wholesale boom.