Meeting the stringent performance and service quality requirements of the 5G network is dependent on timing and synchronization technology from RAN to core. These requirements, especially in regards to latency, have driven some Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to lease dark fiber facilities and build their own transport network. But MNOs that lease dark fiber only solve a fraction of the problem; they must still procure low latency optical transmission equipment to light up that fiber for interconnection of RAN elements.
Lit Services Solve a Pressing Problem for MNOs
5G-capable lit services represent a huge revenue opportunity for wireline service providers, who can light up their dark fiber and realize more revenue from these assets by deploying and selling lit services to MNOs. This saves time, effort and money for MNOs, as well as reducing their time pressure and project risk by speeding up 5G service roll-out.
These MNOs are under serious pressure to turn up services now—not months from now. Building their own transport network imposes a significant scheduling impact due to vendor selection, in-house testing, and supply-chain integration. By partnering with a wireline service provider and leasing lit services, an MNO can overcome these challenges, avoid the financial penalties of delay, and get their 5G services operational much faster. The key is that the lit services offered must meet or exceed 5G standards.
Choose the Right Transport Platform for the Job
Wireline service providers who decide to offer lit services for 5G transport need to know that the choice of transport platform is critical, especially when it comes to latency, timing and synchronization. For instance, a transport platform engineered from conception to support Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) offers a superior solution in comparison to repurposed routers that have been updated to add TSN onto pre-existing functionality. TSN purpose-built transport platforms, based on IEEE standard 802.1CM-TSN for Fronthaul using precision time protocol (PTP), produce vastly superior performance to updated routers. The advantages of transport platforms purpose-built for TSN are clear: packet delay variation (PDV) is 75 times better and latency is five times better than an updated router platform.
Lit service powered with a low-latency TSN purpose-built platform supports the MNO in deploying a centralized RAN (C-RAN) with performance-enhancing capabilities, and enables the MNO to benefit from the flexibility and efficiencies of carrier aggregation and pooling of distribution and central unit (DU and CU) assets. Carrier aggregation enables two or more carriers to be combined into one data channel, thereby increasing broadband capacity to an individual user. The result is a higher-performing broadband network from existing resources. Pooling of CU and DU allows planners and engineers to design the RAN based on a region of sites instead of an individual cell site. That improves asset usage efficiency and minimizes costs.
“The advantages of transport platforms purpose-built for TSN are clear: packet delay variation (PDV) is 75 times better and latency is five times better than an updated router platform.”
Meeting PDV and Latency Needs on a Range of Topologies
Lit services providers need to offer a toolbox of transport implementations over their dark fiber to address the different deployment topologies of each MNO. TSN-based transport platforms can supply a range of topologies including point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, linear chain and ring, while maintaining the PDV and latency requirements for maximum RAN performance. This range of transport configurations will reduce risk and ensure the lit service provider can serve the MNO site topology expeditiously while meeting or exceeding performance requirements.
Open RAN-Agnostic Platforms Deliver Interoperability
Another important aspect of designing TSN-based lit services for 5G transport is open, RAN-agnostic interoperability. Proprietary transport platforms only work with a single RAN vendor’s elements. Open RAN architectures driven by the O-RAN Alliance, enable all RAN elements from multiple vendors to interoperate, insuring seamless interoperation within the MNO’s RAN. Lit services providers thus need to incorporate an open, RAN-agnostic transport platform with a totally disaggregated approach when deploying mobile fronthaul networks.
Next Steps for Wireline Service Providers
Are you facing challenges adding a new technology and/or transport platform to your dark fiber network for lit services? Fujitsu offers a turnkey white-label service for planning, installation, and ongoing operations and maintenance which is certified and proven in the industry. Find out more about our recommended platform for TSN-based 5G transport, the flexiHaul M6424 TSN switch.
At Fujitsu, we are experts in the network infrastructure that makes digital transformation possible. MNOs trust Fujitsu network solutions for their own 5G fronthaul service. In fact, a Fujitsu 5G fronthaul solution was exclusively selected by Verizon due to our history and our industry-leading Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) offering.