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15 June 2021

OFC conference: open architectures for 5G x-haul take the spotlight

By Wireless Watch Staff

5G x-Haul was a key topic at the annual OFC show last week, along with new generations of optical technology such as 800G.

One development was the publication of a joint technical paper by Nokia, Ericsson, II-VI, Lumentum and Sumitomo Electric, arguing the case for reducing the wide choice of Mobile Optical Pluggables (MOPA) that are used to connect mobile cell sites to fiber networks. The group wants to establish a small set of pre-defined blueprints that use common optical pluggables.

Recommendations include optical characteristics such as data rates, reach, power, wavelengths as well as mechanical characteristics such as form factor, heat dissipation and operational temperature.

Meanwhile, the Open XR Forum made its debut, with founders including Verizon, Lumen Technologies, Windstream, Liberty Global and Infinera. The latest forum pledged to help build a common foundation for interconnectivity across multiple optical generations in point-to-point and point-to-multipoint applications. The aim is to simplify current network architectures to support dynamic, on-demand capacity allocation, and to drive a future architecture that is compatible across multiple generations of optical technologies.

Also at the show, connectivity component developer Point2 Technology  unveiled its 5G RangeXtender, a module that supports the Small Form-Factor Pluggable 28 (SFP28) platform and aims to extend the reach of 5G fronthaul and backhaul and so reduce capex and opex.

“As 5G is deployed, wireless carriers will need to support enormous increases in traffic, which means they will need to upgrade the data rates of their fiber links for fronthaul and backhaul from 10Gbps to 25Gbps and soon to 50Gbps,” said CEO Sean Park. “This will require significant investments in infrastructure long before they can realize revenue from it.”

He says RangeXtender allows existing fiber infrastructure to increase its reach from the current 10-30 kilometers, through the use of a system-on-chip to support EDC/CDR (electrical dispersion compensation/clock-and-data recovery). According to Park, “the result is much lower cost of ownership because it reduces the need for costly fiber extension, dispersion compensation filters, and amplification while enhancing link performance on the aging fiber.”

Telecom Infra Project’s OOPT (Open Optical and Packet Transport) project group announced a successful demonstration of open optical network management, courtesy of its CANDI (Converged Architectures for Network Disaggregation & Integration) sub-group. “The trial is a critical step to helping operators adopt best-in-breed solutions for increased vendor diversity and agility in their optical networks,” said TIP. Among the vendors taking part in the trial was ADVA, with its FSP 3000 open line system (OLS) and Ensemble Controller network management and SDN domain controller system.