Nokia Bell Labs Demonstrates First Ever Ultra-Low Latency 10G PON for Mobile Front-haul

Nokia Bell Labs has made a significant breakthrough in the effort to better support mobile front-haul and latency sensitive services. In a world-first, Nokia showed it is now possible to use a commercial next generation PON (NG-PON) to transport ultra-low latency CPRI streams via a standard single fiber running between the Baseband Unit (BBU) and the Remote Radio Head (RRH). The proof-of concept demonstration was done in accordance with the latency budget requirements for the front-haul of commercial radio equipment, showing that existing fiber networks can be used to cost-efficiently transport mobile traffic and help accelerate 5G.

Front-haul is an essential element of the C-RAN (Centralized Radio Access Network) architecture in mobile networks, where the processing power is centralized and moved away from the cell sites. This can help operators reduce the cost and power consumption of their on-site installations along with ease cell cooperation schemes that help enhance mobile network capacity and coverageIn C-RAN architecture, the legacy Common Public Radio Interfaces (CPRI) and some of the next generation fronthaul interfaces require ultra-low latency transport - often in the sub-millisecond range - to meet the strict timing and synchronization requirements of 4G and 5G technologies.

Nokia Bell Labs validated that the use of next generation PON technology XGS-PON (X=10, G=Gigabit, S-PON=symmetrical Passive Optical Network) technology would satisfy these strict timing constraints and deliver the capacity needed while reducing the cost of mobile cell site transport. XGS-PON runs on existing fiber access networks and allows operators to use GPON platforms and technology to deliver high capacity services. This is important for operators who increasingly need to support any-haul applications. No longer requiring a separate network, operators can now use existing passive optical networks used in Fiber-to-the-home or Building (FTTH/FTTB) deployments to quickly and cost-effectively gain the performance and coverage they require to handle the mobile transport of their densifying cell sites.

In addition to mobile transport applications, passive optical networks are also becoming an attractive option for operators looking to support latency sensitive services and IoT applications such as manufacturing control and connected vehicles.

This technology breakthrough helps ensure mobile service providers on the path to 5G are well prepared and further expands Nokia's Any-haul mobile transport solutions while strengthening its portfolio of converged access networks for fixed and mobile services.