Along with core and radio access networks (RAN), xHaul (fronthaul, midhaul, backhaul) transport networks are a key component of a cellular wireless network. 5G Americas announced a new white paper titled, “Transport Networks for 5G” which delves into the present transport network landscape, explores ongoing work and envisions the future of 5G transport networks.

Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas said, “5G network operators are continually improving 5G transport networks making them more adaptable, secure and flexible to meet increasing demands. Future-proofing the 5G transport network is paramount to advancing 5G and beyond.”

“Transport Networks for 5G” examines characteristics shaping 5G transport networks that have been increasing with bandwidth demands, driving the need for continuous backhaul capacity and the necessity for flexible, scalable solutions. Current efforts focus on cloud-based RAN connectivity, network-based timing and synchronization and end-to-end network slices. Future work will center on enhancing transport network security and addressing the influence of the metaverse and immersive applications.

Key topics surrounding 5G transport networks in this 5G Americas white paper include:

  • 5G deployment and the xHaul transport network
  • Advancements in 5G RAN technologies
  • Continued usage of microwave spectrum
  • Ethernet-based fronthaul interfaces
  • Integrated access backhaul in 5G
  • 5G standalone split CU/DU architectures
  • Increased deployment of virtualized RAN
  • Network timing, frequency and phase synchronization challenges for vRAN
  • Evolution of cell sites
  • 5G deployment, and wireline and wireless convergence
  • 5G deployment and sustainability.

According to David Krauss, principal network architect at Ciena, “5G's evolution toward open architectures, diverse network slicing and precise timing and synchronization demands robust transport networks as the bedrock of innovation and performance. New transport technology capabilities help pave the path to a connected future, where seamless connectivity and intelligent distribution unlock the true potential of 5G."