The IEEE and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) have published IEEE 802.1CM™-2018, “IEEE Standard for Local and metropolitan area networks—Time-Sensitive Networking for Fronthaul.” The standard, available from the online IEEE Standards Store, addresses the use of Ethernet to connect cellular radio equipment to a remote controller via a packet network – particularly, a bridged IEEE 802.3 Ethernet network. The standard is expected to prove influential in the design of the technology that will support of 5G small cell networks as well as future cloud-based radio access networks.
Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) is the dominant transmission specification for current mobile networks but is not expected to meet the requirements of 5G. Ericsson AB, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, NEC Corp., and Nokia have collaborated on the creation of eCPRI as a result – but there have been requests from the communications community for an Ethernet-based approach that would match up better with Optical Transport Network (OTN) specifications than CPRI does.
“As we see carriers and operators pursuing 5G technologies, and a wide range of new possibilities for next-generation mobile applications, IEEE 802.1CM represents a key pioneering step for providing reliable packet transport within 5G networks,” said Glenn Parsons, chair, IEEE 802.1 Working Group. “The standard’s development, in cooperation with multiple standards organizations, demonstrates how IEEE-SA is committed to work collaboratively and respond quickly to industry demand—in this case for packet-based fronthaul.”
That collaboration includes cooperation with the developers of eCPRI -- IEEE 802.1CM will supports fronthaul interfaces based on the eCPRI specification – as well as Study Group 15 of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), whose synchronization work the IEEE standard has followed.
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