This month, we are taking a look at some of the hottest topics in the optical transceiver market, In the last post, we talked about Silicon Photonics and in this post we are talking about 5G wireless.

5G (5th generation) wireless is getting a lot of hype now with 5G poised to replace the current 4G in the next few years. Many equipment vendors and carriers are preparing for 5G deployment.  The key characteristics of 5G are higher capacity and lower latency. 5G is envisioned to connect not only people but also connect and control machines and objects for a better implementation of IoT(Internet of Things)

Some of the projected goals for 5G are:
• Data rates of tens of megabits per second for tens of thousands of users
• Data rates of 100 megabits per second for metropolitan areas
• 1 Gb per second simultaneously to many workers on the same office floor
• Several hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections for wireless sensors
• Spectral efficiency significantly enhanced compared to 4G
• Latency reduced significantly compared to LTE

Fiber is slated to play a huge role in 5G deployments. Even though wireless backhaul is a combination of wireless/satellite and fiber, fiber will have a larger share in 5G wireless backhaul compared to 4G. Backhaul upgrades are taking place all over the world converting legacy copper-based sites to packet-based transport over fiber. The type of 5G networks that will ultimately evolve depends on the market but right now, WDM-PON architecture has the edge in the 5G wireless backhaul space.

Similar to how 10Gb/s multi-rate optical modules have become the standard for LTE fronthaul,  25G devices are expected to be used in high volumes in 5G deployments. Industrial temperature versions of 25G transceivers made specifically for fronthaul applications are starting to become available in the market today.

In anticipation of the potential huge increase in fronthaul bandwidth that would be needed to support 5G radios, mobile equipment makers updated the CPRI specification to ‘eCPRI’, (published in August, 2017).
• The new specification enables tenfold reduction of the required bandwidth
• Required bandwidth can scale flexibly according to the user plane traffic
• Use of packet based transport technologies will be enable
• Utilization of Ethernet and IP are encouraged, thus guaranteeing future evolution.

Vitex, in partnership with Innolight offers 25G industrial temp SFP28 transceivers for wireless applications. Extended temperature 100G transceivers are also in the offing.

5G is a transformative technology and to meet the performance goals of higher capacity, network availability and coverage, fiber will play a key role in the success of 5G deployments.