5G-XHaul project looks at WDM-PON for mobile fronthaul, backhaul

March 7, 2016
The European Union has funded a project to investigate the use of WDM-PON technology for mobile backhaul and mobile fronthaul. The 5G-XHaul initiative, part of the EU Horizon 2020 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership (5G PPP), will last three years and culminate in a large-scale field trial in Bristol, UK, according to program participant ADVA Optical Networking.

The European Union has funded a project to investigate the use of WDM-PON technology for mobile backhaul and mobile fronthaul. The 5G-XHaul initiative, part of the EU Horizon 2020 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership (5G PPP), will last three years and culminate in a large-scale field trial in Bristol, UK, according to program participant ADVA Optical Networking.

"5G is about bringing phenomenally high bandwidth to mobile devices. The problem is that the capacity requirements for the backhaul and core network also increase enormously," said Christoph Glingener, CTO, ADVA Optical Networking. "The 5G-XHaul project is helping to address this issue by creating a unique platform for collaboration."

The systems company will supply the WDM-PON technology. ADVA has offered WDM-PON as an optical transport option, largely for business services applications, for some time (see "ADVA intros WDM-PON"). The technology was widely discussed by multiple vendors on the show floor at OFC 2015 as coming into its own, with mobile fronthaul for 5G small cell networks as a promising opportunity.

"We're redesigning wireless architecture and enabling applications and services to physically follow the user so that they experience the least possible delay," Glingener said of the application of WDM-PON to support next-generation mobile networks. "Coverage dead spots will be a thing of the past. Even in dense urban canyons and remote rural backwaters, HD teleworking and video streaming will be easily accessible. 5G will even ensure connectivity when traveling on high-speed transport."

In addition to leveraging WDM-PON, project members will also apply network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) for dynamic resource allocation.

"More and more mobile users want to be able to stream ultra-high definition TV and video on mobile devices. And this is just the beginning," added, Jörg-Peter Elbers, vice president, advanced technology, at ADVA. "Today's infrastructure is nowhere near flexible enough to cope with the scale of tomorrow's requirements. A network with tens of billions of devices must be dynamic and it needs to manage itself automatically. The 5G-XHaul project is bringing together academics and industry experts to tackle this problem."

ADVA's partners in the effort include:

  • IHP GmbH/Leibniz-Institut fuer Innvative Microelektronik
  • Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya
  • Fundacio Privada I2CAT, Internet i Innovacio Digital a Catalunya
  • Telefonica Investigacion y Desarrollo SA
  • University of Bristol, UK
  • Panepistimio Thessalias
  • Blu Wireless Technology Ltd.
  • TES Electronic Solutions GmbH
  • Cosmote Kinites Tilepikoinonies AE
  • Technische Universitaet Dresden, Germany
  • Airrays GmbH
  • Huawei Technologies Dusseldorf GmbH

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About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher

Stephen Hardy has covered fiber optics for more than 15 years, and communications and technology for more than 30 years. He is responsible for establishing and executing Lightwave's editorial strategy across its digital magazine, website, newsletters, research and other information products. He has won multiple awards for his writing.

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