Trial validates 25G PON for 5G fronthaul

Thursday, 03 August, 2023

Trial validates 25G PON for 5G fronthaul

Nokia has announced the results of a recent trial with Chunghwa Telecom Laboratories (CHT-TL), which verified that 25G PON can be used for 5G small cell fronthaul.

In 5G, transport networks that carry mobile traffic from small cell sites to the core are typically split into fronthaul and backhaul transport. Operators are already using fibre broadband networks to carry backhaul traffic. The new trial demonstrates that these same networks using 25G PON technology can support the stringent capacity and low latency demands needed for fronthaul.

When operators switch to 5G, the signal propagation limitations inherent in the higher frequencies mean they need to deploy more antenna to ensure capacity and coverage. Fronthaul transmission plays an important role in connecting these new small cell antennas to the core network. In most cases, small cells and fibre broadband networks have a matching footprint, making fibre networks readily available to be used for 5G transport. The CHT-TL trial shows that 25G PON broadband meets the needs for mobile fronthaul, providing the opportunity for significant gains in total cost of ownership (TCO) by converging networks instead of building costly new transport routes.

“Using PON for mobile fronthaul is a breakthrough solution for network convergence,” said Erik Keith, Senior Research Analyst at S&P Global. “25G PON provides the additional capacity that makes this possible. Leveraging the existing access networks to support mobile transport also means operators can do a lot more with less capital investment, which is good news for the bottom line.”

Nokia’s 25G PON uses the Quillion chipset to efficiently boost capacity of the existing fibre nodes to 25 Gbps, enabling operators to offer additional services, like mobile transport or enterprise connectivity, delivering new revenues and TCO savings. In addition, PON-based transport has low energy consumption, further reducing operating costs and helping meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

“A stable optical network aligned with a focus on reduced total cost of ownership are key for a successful transport solution providing coverage for a mobile network,” said Dr Rong-Shy Lin, CTO and Executive Vice President of the Chunghwa Telecom Company and President of the Chunghwa Telecom Laboratories. “We have verified that 25G PON can co-exist with our high-speed broadband network, leveraging the outside plant, which is the cornerstone to the success of fixed-mobile convergence.”

Jason Liu, President of Nokia Solutions & Networks Taiwan, added, “This is a fantastic new use case for 25G PON that is already being adopted for consumer and business services. Chunghwa Telecom joins a global list including giants like AT&T, Google Fiber, cities like Chattanooga in the US, and challenger brands like Ogi in the UK, who are trialling and introducing 25G PON. We are pleased to support Chunghwa Telecom to achieve its goal of converging fixed and mobile networks and at the same time fulfil its green commitments towards a sustainable environment.”

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