New 5G Radios Are on Deck – Is Your Wireline Network Ready?

Roughly every decade, our industry introduces a new generation of mobile network technology, and the fifth generation known as “5G” is currently on deck with the finalization of the first implementable 5G New Radio (NR) standards last December. It should be highlighted that 5G is expected to coexist alongside previous generations of mobile for years to come, primarily 4G. This is a critical point that will affect how wireline networks that interconnect cell sites to each other and to distant data centers serving up content are designed, deployed, and managed going forward. Remember, as soon as a wireless signal from a mobile user, man or machine, hits a radio in the cell site, the rest of the journey is via a wireline network.

In short, high-performance wireline networks are critical to the success of future 5G mobile services!

Figure 1: Mobile network generation decade cadence

In reality, the only generation of mobile networks actually replaced by a newer generation was 1G, which took many years to accomplish. This is why there’s still a significant amount of mixed 2G/3G/4G networks still in operation today in many parts of the world, as different operators are at different stages of mobile network evolution. You experience this while travelling and see the icons on your phone changing between 2G, 3G, and 4G as you move around. Most Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are planning to sunset 2G soon, leaving a mix of 3G, 4G, and 5G networks going forward, although 4G is rapidly replacing 3G today.

Just like when previous generations of mobile networks were introduced, MNOs will soon embark on a long, costly, and complex journey fraught with risk, challenges, and of course, significant opportunities and benefits.

5G is not a standalone mobile network technology and must live in harmony with previous generations of wireless technologies, as MNOs slowly evolve from old to new technologies. Just like when previous generations of mobile networks were introduced, MNOs will soon embark on a long, costly, and complex journey fraught with risk, challenges, and of course, significant opportunities and benefits.

Enter Ciena 5G Boot Camp

Trying to digest the vast amounts of information available online related to 5G is like drinking from a fire hydrant, which is why we’ve decided to kick off a series of blogs over 2018 aiming to concisely explain the most important aspect of 5G written by several experts at Ciena across various disciplines.

What will we cover? A whole bunch of topics, including those listed below! The goal is for our blog readers to better understand 5G from both business and technology perspectives, as 5G is a very broad topic.

  • Standards Overview and Timelines
  • Mobile bandwidth demand growth drivers
  • Target application and Use cases
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Network Slicing
  • Fronthaul/Midhaul/Backhaul
  • Evolution of CPRI
  • Analytics
  • Role of IP in 5G Networks
  • … and much more!

Let Ciena Light the Way

Do you want to better understand the technology and business challenges and opportunities related to 5G? If so, join our 5G Boot Camp by signing up to our blog or visit our 5G Networks page so you’re better prepared for the future.