Samsung and Ciena say their joint solution set will enable faster, pre-validated implementations of 5G networks
LOS ANGELES – At Mobile World Congress Los Angeles (MWC LA), Samsung Electronics and Ciena announced that they have embarked on a joint effort to deliver 5G solutions by coupling Samsung’s 5G RAN and core solutions with Ciena’s xHaul routing and switching portfolio. The collaboration will enable the pair to offer hardware and software solutions to telecom operators to support the increasing volume of 5G data traffic at the edge and within an increasingly distributed 5G architecture.
The partnership was, in part, motivated by what Rafael Francis, senior director of solutions architecture at Ciena, called the blurring between the RAN, transport and core.
“The domains of RAN, transport and core are becoming more tied in the sense as operators roll out 5G with new architectures and approaches, like virtualized RAN (vRAN) or cloud RAN (cRAN),” Francis told RCR Wireless News. “Effectively, the network becomes an integral part of that because you not only have backhaul networks, but you have fronthaul and midhaul networks, and these things all need to interoperate.”
Alok Shah, Samsung’s VP of strategy, business development and marketing for the company’s networks business, agreed with Francis, adding, “Networks used to be a lot easier to understand. The RAN and the core were well defined, and the transport was backhaul for the cell sites.”
Now, though, in the world of vRAN and cRAN, the backhaul is only one means of transport. There is also fronthaul and midhaul and, according to Shah, each one has a different level of performance requirement; when it comes to the fronthaul, in particular, the link between fronthaul and the RAN equipment has to be “really tight.”
“Because,” Shah explained, “you want to make sure that if you’re running 25 Gbps from your radio back to baseband unit, you want to make sure you’re getting the full performance out of that link.”
Further, the combined offering will help operators accelerate critical 5G capabilities such as network slicing, which Francis singled out a perfect example of why coordination across network domains has become more critical in a 5G era.
“Concepts and capabilities brought by 5G such as network slicing that can be used to driver new revenues and services for MNOs must be well coordinated across RAN, ,transport and core to really have the correct impact like ensuring SLAs and partitioning resources,” he said.
In addition to the elements listed above, this offering, which is available immediately, includes Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller and Samsung’s virtualized RAN (vRAN) solutions, baseband units and radios.