The increased carrier bandwidth and the number of antenna elements expected in 5G networks require a redesign of the traditional IP-based backhaul and CPRI-based fronthaul interfaces used in 4G networks. We envision future mobile networks to encompass these legacy interfaces together with novel 5G RAN functional splits. In this scenario, a consistent transport network architecture able to jointly support backhaul and 4G/5G fronthaul interfaces is of paramount importance. In this article we present 5G-XHaul, a novel transport network architecture featuring wireless and optical technologies and a multi-technology software defined control plane, which is able to jointly support backhaul and fronthaul services. We have deployed and validated the 5G-XHaul architecture in a city-wide testbed in Bristol.
- radio access networks
- optical networks