Insights

5G Fronthaul is different

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Fronthaul is a critical part of the Private 5G network architecture. It binds together Radio Units, Distributed processing Units, and, especially for industrial environments, high performance Mobile Edge Computing Nodes. 

5G Fronthaul is much more than evolved 4G Fronthaul – in fact, a completely different architectural approach is needed  

In 5G Fronthaul, traffic patterns have changed

4G Fronthaul5G Fronthaul
Bit-stream CPRI or OBSAI trafficPacketized eCPRI or Radio over Ethernet traffic
Dedicated channel per Remote Radio HeadMultiple virtual channels with different latency and bandwidth requirements
Standard, fixed CPRI Rates per channelFlexible bandwidth requirements per virtual channel
Up to 25Gbps per Remote Radio HeadUp to 100Gps per Remote Radio Head

4G Fronthaul is implemented today primarily as an optical network. While optical transport technologies can provide reasonably low latency, they do not scale well for the packetized, flexible rate traffic that is prevalent in 5G Fronthaul networks.

At the same time, packet based networks used for 4G anyhaul cannot guarantee the low latency requirements specific for 5G fronthaul.

In upcoming posts we will discuss in more detail specific requirements and architectural approaches for Canoga’s 5G fronthaul solution.