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Ciena 5G Network Solutions

Adapting networks for the transition to 5G—creating unlimited possibilities with minimal risk and maximum performance

Faster speeds. Lower latency. Increased availability. Improved reliability. Innovative new use-cases and applications. More cost-effective. That's the 5G promise. In a world that's always ON, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) need to be able to scale existing 4G networks, while transitioning to 5G—and maintain competitiveness and profitability throughout.

5G: How will your network adapt?
The move to 5G isn’t via a simple network upgrade. It's a long journey involving more than simply adding increased capacity to a high-performance wireline network.

Successfully enabling new applications and business models requires a change in the way networks are designed, deployed, and managed. MNOs must embrace concepts like virtualization, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), and Network Slicing—these are critical to ensuring commercial success for both existing 4G networks and the evolution towards 5G. Scalability, automation, and openness ease the transition to high-performance 5G networks.

The Big 3

No. 1

Wireline upgrade

A high-performance wireline network is critical to the success of existing and ongoing 4G expansion and the evolution towards 5G. It interconnects 4G/5G cell sites, as well as data centers that host content and applications accessed by both humans and machines (IoT).

While traditional mobile networks relied on a Carrier Ethernet to interconnect mobile sites to the 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC), LTE-Advanced, LTE-Advanced Pro, and 5G implementations will be far more distributed, taking advantage of virtualization and MEC to support new applications. That means the Internet Protocol (IP) networks must be automated, lean, and open, and simpler—mandatory requirements for the commercial success of 5G network services and their associated applications and use-cases.

No. 2

Open ecosystem

Greater return from network investments comes from 5G network solutions built upon an open and flexible architecture, using a strategy based on best-in-breed products and technologies. This provides the ability to select products to address immediate 4G needs, with the option to invest over time as 5G evolves and matures.

No. 3

The Adaptive Network

Meeting the ever-changing needs of mobile end-users—both humans and machines—requires an optimized mobile network environment. Networks that can adapt—by leveraging programmability, automation, and analytics-driven intelligence across optical, OTN, Ethernet, MPLS, and IP layers—are more agile and responsive, delivering the end-to-end network performance needed to keep up with end-user demands.

Adaptive IP

5G applications are driving the need for more IP towards the network edge. Ciena’s Adaptive IPTM is designed to enable this by offering a rich portfolio of purpose-built platforms, supported by an agile and targeted set of open IP protocols. Together with multi-vendor, multi-layer automation and analytics, Adaptive IP also provides end-to-end visualization and path computation, making it simpler and more cost effective to manage and optimize IP networks. Ciena’s Adaptive IP easily supports concepts like Network Slicing, virtualization, and Edge Computing that will be at the forefront of any successful 5G deployment.

The Conversation

Industry insights

The evolution to 5G is already happening around the world. MNOs have different deployment strategies, but the eventual move to 5G is inevitable—and beneficial for both end-users and operators alike. Operators must support a diversity of revenue streams, which will vary across MNOs and change over time. The key, therefore, is to develop a 5G platform with sufficient capacity, flexibility, and automation to enable any use-case that makes commercial sense—now or in the future. Fiber throughout the network and flexible resource management across all layers, as well as wireless and wireline domains, are essential to increased network versatility.


Ciena insights

5G mobile networks will significantly affect both the wireless and wireline side of the end-to-end global network infrastructure, as airborne wireless bits jump to and from massive wireline networks. The expected performance increases of 5G over existing 4G LTE networks include:

  • 10x to 100x higher user data rates
  • 10x to 100x more connected devices (humans and machines)
  • 10x reduction in latency
  • 1000x more data volumes

It's not economically feasible to scale existing wireline networks by a factor of 10x to 100x to 1000x—from cost, complexity, space, and energy consumption perspectives—to support the expected 5G performance gains over 4G LTE. This means it’s essential to adopt automation, analytics, and agility to more intelligently and flexibly allocate network resources when and where required.

Since 5G is not intended to outright replace 4G—the two will coexist well into the future—the demands of both must be satisfied, wherever possible, over a common, cost-effective wireline infrastructure. Specific wireline technologies applicable to 5G include:

Ciena is intensely focused on innovation across coherent optical, edge packet platforms supporting Adaptive IP, automation, and multi-domain service orchestration technologies, products, and services. The combination of these components provides a highly differentiated, best-in-breed, open solution giving MNOs ultimate choice in scaling their existing 4G networks and their future 5G networks.

What’s next

The future of 5G will change everything in terms of network performance and enabling an incredible amount of new services and applications. For example, it will power Smart Cities where hundreds of thousands of sensors are added to the network every minute, making cities "smart" by gathering, analyzing, and acting upon vital collected sensor data, in real-time.

Ciena is known for having deployed some of the largest and most secure open networks on earth. Our Adaptive Network vision and architecture ensure an optimized and uninterrupted flow of critical data and content, where and when it is needed. It's precisely this real-world field experience and technology expertise that's being applied now to prepare for the 5G networks of tomorrow.

Additional 5G resources

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