Nokia recently announced a trial with Chunghwa Telecom Laboratories (CHT-TL) which verified 25G PON’s capability for small cell fronthaul. In 5G, transport networks that carry mobile traffic from small cell sites to the core are typically split into fronthaul and backhaul transport. Operators are already using fiber broadband networks to carry backhaul traffic. This industry-first trial demonstrates that these same networks using 25G PON technology can support stringent capacity and low latency demands needed for fronthaul.
When operators switch to 5G, the signal propagation limitations inherent in the higher frequencies mean they need to deploy more antenna to ensure capacity and coverage. Fronthaul transmission plays an important role in connecting these new small cell antennae to the core network. In most cases, small cells and fiber broadband networks have a matching footprint, making fiber networks readily available to be used for 5G transport. The CHT-TL trial shows that 25G PON broadband meets the needs for mobile fronthaul, providing the opportunity for significant gains in total cost of ownership (TCO) by converging their networks instead of building costly new transport routes.