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Ciena unveils new capabilities to help network operators prepare for 5G

February 15, 2018
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Ciena has introduced an open and adaptive wireline network architecture to enable scale and automation that will help network operators. According to the company, the current 4G and future 5G networks require massively agile and scalable wireline networks. To address these performance demands, Ciena has developed innovative 5G network solutions to help operators scale their current 4G networks, while simultaneously preparing for the impending evolution toward 5G.

Compared to 4G long term evolution (LTE), 5G is expected to offer 100 times faster speeds, 100 times more devices, 10 times lower latency and 1000 times higher data volumes. This will enable the use of fixed wireless access (FWA), mobile broadband, augmented/virtual reality, internet of things IoT and many more applications. In turn, it will generate an enormous amount of traffic that needs to be stored, accessed, and moved across the network.

Ciena’s 5G Network Solutions are designed to provide the scale and automation operators need to deliver a superior end-to-end user experiencing this environment and usher in a new age of mobile connectivity.

Some of the key facts relating to the technology are:

• 4G and 5G networks will coexist for the foreseeable future and share the same wireline network infrastructure – between cell sites as well as to and from data centers, where accessed content is hosted. As mobile broadband and IoT traffic continues to grow exponentially on these networks, latency, throughput, reliability and security requirements will be extremely demanding, and require more than a simple network upgrade or expansion.

• As a foundation of many global 3G and 4G mobile backhaul networks today, Ciena’s innovations are already addressing current demand dynamics on the wireline network. Building on this pedigree, Ciena’s 5G Network Solutions offer an open, scalable design that allows network operators to select best-of-breed products that meet stringent 4G and 5G network performance expectations and adapt to evolving demand characteristics over time.

• The solutions are composed of Ciena’s industry-leading converged packet optical (6500 and Waveserver) and packet networking (3,900 family, 5,100 family, 8,700 Packetwave) platforms as well as new products and capabilities, including:

o New deterministic packet capability that will support 4G/5G converged front-haul/mid-haul networks offering digital radio transport over standards-based ethernet

o New IP functionality that will provide the necessary connectivity features required for IP-based network infrastructures

o Programmable network slicing capabilities that will allow network operators to logically partition and virtualise network resources from layer 0 to 3

• With Ciena’s 5G network solutions, operators also benefit from its blue planet manage, control and plan and multi-domain service orchestration software that provides enhanced network orchestration, analytics, and end-to-end software defined network (SDN)-based network control.

• Additionally, Ciena’s design, deploy, and manage professional services helps maximize network infrastructure investment throughout the entire evolution from 4G to 5G.

Speaking on the product release, Steve Alexander, Chief Technology Officer, Ciena said, “With expected 5G performance gains ranging from 1,000 times the volume of data to ten times the reduction in latency, operators need to prepare their end-to-end wireline network now. As the industry leader in coherent optical, edge packet platforms, automation, and multi-domain service orchestration, Ciena is uniquely positioned to support operators through every step of their multi-year journey to a common wireline infrastructure that supports 4G and beyond.”

Commenting on the product, Monica Paolini, Principal Analyst, Senza Fili Consulting said, “The move to 5G won’t happen overnight, but it is necessary for operators to prepare for these changes if they want to stay competitive. Picking the right partner will be key to a successful transition to high-performance 5G networks. Ciena’s 5G network solutions can help operators minimise risk and achieve a faster return on investment by supporting both 4G and 5G services on a shared infrastructure and incorporating field-proven wireline technology.”

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