Abstract

The telecommunication community has reached a broad consensus that the current radio access network (RAN) and underlying transport will not be able to scale up to the traffic volume and quality expected in 5G. Thus, it is necessary to remove all the technological bottlenecks and operational rigidities to ensure a painless migration from the existing radio scenario to the 5G one. This article presents a transport architecture able to serve as a backhaul and fronthaul to convey radio traffic on the same optical infrastructure. The cornerstones of the solution are a novel photonic technology used to provide optical connectivity, complemented by a dedicated agnostic framing; a deterministic switching module; and a flexible control paradigm based on a layered scheme and on the slicing concept to facilitate optimal interactions of transport and radio resources while preserving a well-demarcated mutual independence. Simulations and experiments are presented to demonstrate the aforementioned features.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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