By An Jian, President of Carrier Networks Business Group, Huawei Middle East
The maturity of 5G standards has finally brought 5G from vision to reality.
Many countries, such as Japan, South Korea, and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the Middle East, have started building 5G platforms and will soon put 5G into commercial use. It is widely accepted in the industry that 2019 will mark the start of 5G commercialization.
However, as the cornerstone of the 5G industry, how should the transport network evolve to enable 5G business success?
5G service development typically covers two phases. The 5G early stage focuses on enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) services. In this phase, the biggest challenge for operators is to quickly construct networks at affordable costs, while meeting the requirements for 10-fold bandwidth growth at single site and fast service deployment.
Following that, the 5G full-rollout stage focuses on three typical types of services: eMBB, ultra-reliable and low-latency communications (URLLC), and massive machine-type communications (mMTC).
In this phase, providing differentiated service level agreement (SLA) assurance for services, and building an integrated transport network that supports all business to home (B2H), business to business (B2B), and business to consumer (B2C) services to improve the return on investment (ROI), will become a top priority for operators.
To address these challenges, we have proposed an innovative 5G-oriented IP transport network solution
5G Early Stage: Fast Transport Network Construction to Support Quick Win of 5G Services
Optimal cost per bit, supporting an affordable upgrade for the transport network
Faced with the 10-fold traffic growth at single site in the 5G era, Huawei has now achieved the optimal cost per bit and fast bandwidth upgrade by multiple innovations such as NP chips, energy saving design, new interface, and new protocols.
This includes next-generation router chips with the highest degree of integration and best performance. As the core components of routers, forwarding chips are key to device capacity improvement. In 2019, Huawei will launch new-generation Solar 6.0 chip, which will integrate 60 billion transistors, enabling six-fold integration.
The forwarding performance of a single chip will reach 6.4 Tbit/s, five times higher than current performance and far exceeding the industry average. With Solar 6.0 chips, the single-LPU forwarding capacity of Huawei routers can reach 14.4 Tbit/s.
We also apply innovative energy-saving technology, achieving the lowest single-bit power consumption in the industry. Reducing single-bit power consumption and improving heat dissipation efficiency has long been a focus in the industry. To minimize power consumption, Huawei offers an industry-leading Super Cooling solution by adopting the phase-change heat dissipation technology and introducing the industry's first mixed-flow fans, making power consumption 30% lower than the industry average.
It is also essential to have new-generation Interface technology, achieving optimal cost per bit. On the access side of base stations, traditional 10GE access ring cannot meet 5G bandwidth requirements, whereas traditional 40GE and 100GE are costly.
To address this issue, Huawei uses PAM4 technology to provide 50 Gbit/s capacity on 25 Gbit/s optical components, making the single-bit cost 30% lower than that of traditional optical modules. In addition, single-fiber bidirectional transmission is supported, reducing the number of required fiber resources by 50%. For the backbone network, Huawei is the first vendor to support end to end 400GE Interface technology and put it into commercial use.
4G and 5G coexistence, allowing existing networks to be smoothly evolved
SR and SRv6 are next-generation programmable network protocols that simplify service deployment and O&M. They are essential for network protocol evolution. Based on programmable chips, Huawei routers support MPLS and SR/SRv6 dual-plane deployment with capability to handle 10 label stack. An MPLS network can be smoothly evolved to an SR/SRv6 network through a software upgrade, reducing operators' device replacement costs caused by protocol upgrades.
E2E network automation, supporting fast 5G services provisioning
As new 5G services are emerging, they increase service complexity for operators. Huawei Network Cloud Engine (NCE) integrates management, control, and analysis functions, achieving network-wide service virtualization, automated service provisioning, and fast fault location and recovery. These functions greatly facilitate 5G service fast provisioning.
5G Full Rollout Phase: Building a Converged Transport Network that Supports All Services to Improve the ROI
In this phase, eMBB, URLLC, and mMTC services will be fully developed and require different SLA assurance. As the density of 5G base stations increases, service access point will tend to be deployed at the same location. This brings a possibility that B2H and B2B services are accessed through the same point of presence (POP), enabling a transport network to be able to bear B2H, B2B, and B2C services at the same time.
In Huawei’s opinion, a transport network in this phase should have the following characteristics:
The network is decoupled from services and sliced to provide services on demand. The network slicing technology works with end-to-end SRv6 path programming to provide differentiated SLA capabilities for services.
The network architecture is simplified, and higher bandwidths are available, providing sufficient bandwidth resources for various services and optimizing service experience.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics capabilities are introduced to network to build an intent-driven intelligent operation platform, realizing automated deployment, status collection, and intelligent analysis, enabling full-lifecycle network management and proactive O&M, improving service provisioning, O&M efficiency and ROI.
Promoting IP Industry Development with Operators, Together
Huawei has been investing and innovating in the IP field for decades.
For example, as a major contributor to 50GE/400GE interface standards, Huawei took the lead in commercializing 50GE/400GE and drove the technology to maturity.
As a major member of the new-generation SRv6 standard organization, Huawei has not only submitted more than 15+ SRv6-related drafts to the IETF, but also promoted interoperability between vendors and SRv6 commercial deployment. What's more, Huawei actively participates in multiple standard fields, such as the 5G clock synchronization field, as a major contributor.
Huawei actively carries out joint innovation with operators in Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and many other regions through NetCity projects to explore future network evolution and promote IP industry development. Currently, great progress has been made in many fields, such as automated service provisioning and cloud-network synergy.
Meanwhile, Huawei helps operators cultivate IP talent through Huawei Certification (HC) program, building evolvable IP transport network to enable 5G business success.