Infinera offers new mobile fronthaul, backhaul optical transport

Feb. 20, 2017
Infinera, building off the systems technology it gained when it acquired Transmode, has launched new offerings for mobile fronthaul and mobile backhaul applications with an eye toward supporting emerging 5G wireless networks. The fronthaul announcement covers a new line of flexponders, while the new EMXP Access Unit addresses mobile backhaul requirements.

Infinera, building off the systems technology it gained when it acquired Transmode, has launched new offerings for mobile fronthaul and mobile backhaul applications with an eye toward supporting emerging 5G wireless networks. The fronthaul announcement covers a new line of flexponders, while the new EMXP Access Unit addresses mobile backhaul requirements.

The company has designed the systems to support the low latency, synchronization accuracy, configuration flexibility, and openness that Infinera believes mobile networks will require.

For example, the flexponders (so called because they can operate as transponders, muxponders, or in a hybrid mode) come in three configurations:

  1. A line card that fits into any XTM system
  2. A hardened 1RU system for deployment in non-controlled cabinets
  3. A system contained in a clamshell case for outdoor mounting.

In all three configurations, the units offer software-programmable support of Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) and Open Base Station Architecture Initiative (OBSAI) mobile fronthaul protocols and Ethernet in both 4G and 5G environments. They also will support the outcome of the Next-Generation Fronthaul Initiative (NGFI), which is creating "time sensitive Ethernet" approaches that add a latency angle to packet processing.

Other features include low latency, robust synchronization capabilities, and fronthaul-specific characteristics such as real-time delay compensation to better serve radio access network (RAN) architectures in fiber protection scenarios.

For wireless backhaul, the EMXP Access Unit offers 48 Gbps of packet switching in a 1RU format for cabinet-based deployment, much like the existing EMXP line cards for central office use that Infinera already makes available. For example, the EMXP Access Unit supports a common software and feature set with the rest of the EMXP range. These attributes include support for Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) services, low latency transmission, Synchronous Ethernet and 1588v2 synchronization, and network resiliency.

Both of the new offerings are designed for open network environments and leverage the company's Xceed Software Suite for use in software-defined networking environments.

Together, the systems are designed to help operators make a smooth transition from 4G to 5G architectures, particularly as Infinera believes that the two wireless network approaches will coexist for several years to come.

Infinera plans to make the hardened clamshell version of the flexponder and the EMXP Access Unit generally available in the second quarter of this year. The other flexponders are shipping and available, the company adds.

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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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