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X-Haul for 5G Leadership

2018.06.06 By Zhao Guanglei

As the foundation of 5G, transport networks must be constructed to truly enter the 5G era. And with the first 5G transport networks set to be commercialized in 2018, Huawei is ready to lead deployment. We've developed the industry's first 5G E2E commercial solution capable of supporting the commercial deployment of 5G by carriers around the world: Meet X-Haul.

Driven by joint innovation

In 2017, Huawei launched its 5G transport solution, X-Haul, to help carriers build E2E 5G networks. Over the past year, Huawei has collaborated with multiple leading carriers around the world in the area of 5G transport.


In Japan and South Korea, two nations with the highest network deployment requirements and fastest 5G deployment speeds, Huawei has worked with multiple top carriers to carry out 5G transport tests, covering multiple KPIs. In China, Huawei makes full use of carriers' network scale advantages to jointly carry out 5G transport tests. Huawei was the first vendor to pass China Mobile's 5G transport test, demonstrating the position of Huawei's 5G transport solution as a leader in multi-service transport, OAM, protection, and multi-vendor inter-working. This also highlighted the key capabilities of Huawei's FlexE-based 50GE line cards: zero packet loss and the longest transmission distance in the industry – 40km. In China's first 5G Fronthaul test organized by China Telecom, Huawei's 5G OTN Fronthaul solution set an industry record with a transmission latency of less than 1 µs and a jitter of less than 1 ns.


In Europe, network scenarios are more diverse, with multiple carriers carrying out transnational services. Huawei and Telefonica verified multiple key X-Haul technologies in a lab environment, including PAM4-based 50 Gbps ports for reducing 5G network construction costs; FlexE bundling for smoothly evolving bandwidth; and SR+EVPN to unify network protocols, unify service bearing, and make network connections simpler, more flexible, and more efficient. Huawei 5G transport helped Telefonica demonstrate the industry's first 5G slicing-based interactive VR service.

In addition, Vodafone and Huawei tested the applicability of IP microwave backhaul for 5G. According to the test results, it’s possible to deliver up to 2.7 Gbps capacity from a single IP microwave link and a single-hop latency of 50 µs. In a 5G E2E network slicing demo performed by Deutsche Telekom and Huawei, a cloud transport network achieved data plane isolation over IP+Optical Infrastructure, maintaining different network topologies and SLAs for the respective control plane.

Huawei's 5G transport solutions have been well received by many leading carriers, which are now expanding collaboration with Huawei to accelerate commercialization.

"We’re very happy to demonstrate this VR service with Huawei at MWC. Telefonica is committed to becoming a pioneer in the 5G era and will work with Huawei through joint innovation to promote 5G commercial use," said Javier Gavilan, Planning and Technology Director of Core Network, Platforms and Transport, Telefonica Global CTIO Unit.

Eva Rossi, Head of Transport Products for Vodafone Group, commented on his blog that Vodafone and Huawei will continue to work on microwave technology to increase the transmit distance by Multi-Band and E-band links.

Li Junjie, Director of the Optical Communication Research Center at the China Telecom Beijing Research Institute, remarked that, "Huawei's OTN Fronthaul solution obtained excellent test results, creating confidence for China Telecom in its potential for future commercial deployment. I hope Huawei can continue this joint innovation and long-term cooperation with China Telecom to enable China Telecom to become a pioneer in global 5G network services."

Competitiveness through differentiation

Transport networks differ greatly around the world from carrier to carrier, creating great diversity in 5G transport scenarios and increasing the requirements for 5G transport solutions.

Huawei's X-Haul 5G transport solution supports various technologies, including IPRAN, OTN, and microwave technologies. The solution can apply to multiple service scenarios and help carriers smoothly evolve live networks to 5G transport networks.

In February 2017, Huawei launched the industry's first 50GE/100GE adaptive slicing router to meet mobile backhaul service requirements. 50GE interfaces were introduced on the access layer, reducing TCO by 30 percent and supporting seamless upgrades to 100GE interfaces. SR and EVPN provide elastic connection architecture for a large number of 5G services, helping carriers to deliver 5G slicing services.

In February 2018, Huawei launched the industry's first 5G microwave equipment, with transmission bandwidth reaching 10 Gbps and single-hop latency cut to tens of microseconds. This equipment supports 5G-oriented smooth evolution and smart network O&M.

In February 2018, Huawei also launched a 5G Fronthaul transport solution to support services such as mobile transport, private line cloud access, and wide home bandwidth coverage. It enables carriers to deploy a network for multiple purposes, greatly reducing network construction costs, shortening site construction time frames, and maximizing network value.

At the same time, the emergence of these innovative 5G services imposes increased requirements on network intelligence. With this in mind, Huawei has launched the Intent-Driven Network solution that features intelligence, simplicity, ultra-broadband, openness and security. This solution helps carriers build networks centered on user experience. At MWC 2018, Huawei also launched an Intent-Driven Network solution for 5G transport scenarios, helping carriers reshape their 5G business models.

Thus, Huawei is helping carriers build leading 5G transport networks with differentiated competitiveness.

Key Solutions

The competitiveness of Huawei's X-Haul 5G transport solution can be attributed to Huawei's long-term accumulation of expertise in core technical fields. Huawei's contribution to international 5G transport standards is also accelerating the commercial use of 5G transport.

FlexE is a core technical standard for 5G transport that has been widely accepted by international standards organizations. Huawei participated in the formulation of the FlexE standards and continues to be a key contributor, with Huawei’s FlexE2.0 solution well received in the industry.

50GE is an important Ethernet interface technology in the 5G transport field. It has a mature technical background and wide market applicability. In 2016, Huawei took the initiative, proposing a 50GE/200GE 10 km standard for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), eventually resulting in the 50GE standard. Currently, carriers around the world, including China Mobile, are actively promoting the standardization of 50GE. The whole industry is enthusiastically pushing for 50GE commercial deployment. In March 2018, Huawei and Ethernet Alliance worked with industry partners to complete 50GE multi-vendor interoperability tests at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference & Exposition (OFC) 2018, showcasing the development of the 50GE industry and supporting subsequent applications on live networks.

OTN Lite is a key standard for 5G Fronthaul scenarios. It meets low-latency and cost reduction requirements based on simplified OTN frame structures and protocols. In February 2016, Huawei introduced the idea for OTN Lite at the IITU-T SG15 plenary meeting.

A prosperous industry ecosystem requires the participation of all stakeholders, because fragmented development hampers industry development. Huawei actively lobbies international standards organizations and industrial organizations to build unified 5G transport standards and a complete 5G business environment. In the future, Huawei will continue to work with upstream and downstream partners to jointly promote sustainable development in the 5G transport industry and share industry dividends in the 5G era.

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