The current level of pooling and sharing between fixed and mobile infrastructures is not sufficient to allow the most efficient use of network resources, whether fixed, mobile, or Wi-Fi. In the perspective of 5G networks, efficient resource sharing of fixed and mobile infrastructures, called structural convergence, will be essential in the path toward an integrated fixed and mobile network. This structural convergence is being triggered by different architecture trends, e.g., baseband unit hostelling and mobile fronthaul technologies, heterogeneous radio access networks, and, most importantly, a unified optical access and aggregation network. The COMBO European project is studying architectural options for structural convergence leveraging on the aforementioned technological triggers and in particular on the evolution of optical access and aggregation technologies. These architectural options are described and analyzed with respect to anticipated needs for integrated fixed and mobile networks.
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