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5G networks require more fibre to maximise full potential

From Emtelle's 5G Market Specialist

For operators to maximise the full potential of 5G and capitalise on their network infrastructure, fibre should be at the heart of every Fibre-To-The-x (FTTx) and mobile network, Emtelle’s Market Specialist, 5G, IoT and Smart City said today.

Paul McCue, Market Specialist at Emtelle

Speaking ahead of ANGA COM 2019, which will take place in Cologne, Germany next week, Paul McCue explained that given the expected small cells, network densification and 5G requirements, it is essential that fibre is extended further into the mobile network. Fibre all the way to the antenna is becoming a necessity for many operators’ fronthaul and backhaul to cater for reliable, low latency and higher bandwidth demands.

“Many companies have already planned and noticed the pivotal role fibre will play in 5G networks, which is acting as a catalyst for them to adopt new approaches to their network builds. As operators switch on 5G, FTTx and existing mobile backhaul will converge, creating a robust network which can support the high-speed, anytime, anywhere connectivity that is required. With fibre at small cells, we see that backhaul connections follow similar routes as street layouts in an FTTx network,” stated McCue.

“At Emtelle, we have identified eight areas in fronthaul and backhaul where our fibre solutions can be used. This includes expanding existing 4G Fibre-To-The-Antennas (FTTAs), network densification, changing C-RAN, vRAN architectures, small cell, new antenna sites, Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) through to indoor solutions. For instance, we are currently working with the Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab (DOLL), which is the country’s National Test Centre for Intelligent Lighting and Smart City services. As part of the project, we deployed our pre-terminated fibre and ducting solution, QWKconnect, that fully integrates into streetlights containing 5G antennas in the DOLL network. QWKconnect is highly reliable and compact enough to be easily integrated in streetlights, traffic lights and city-wide deployments,” McCue said.

Emtelle’s FibreFlow™ WEBFLEX is another crossover technology from FTTx that the mobile industry can capitalise on, McCue went on to explain. Consisting of 12 microducts joined together in a branch formation, the solution’s unique design makes it easy to strip and branch the desired microduct with minimal disruption or risk of damage to the remaining microducts.

Fibre-connected small cells are paving the way for 5G by enabling even faster speeds, lower latency and better coordination between cells than traditional network methods. Better coordination and lower latency are essential for the advancement of future applications such as Autonomous Vehicles (AV), emphasised McCue.

 “With the evolution of 4G and the architectural changes in the Radio Access Network (RAN), we saw fibre quickly become first choice to many operators given its longevity, ultra-low latency, cost effectiveness and high bandwidth capabilities,” said McCue. “With increasing network densification and small cells becoming operational, performance expectations in 5G in fronthaul and backhaul are ensuring that fibre will be an even more critical asset in any operators’ network. We have seen growth in new fibre and ducting network models to support all types of mobile operators as well as other wireless networks.”

The implications for 5G and the FTTx industry will be a key topic of conversation for Emtelle’s teams at ANGA COM 2019, where the company will showcase its full range of blown fibre, cabling and microduct solutions designed to support 5G networks, at Booth A11, Hall 7, from Tuesday, June 4 until Thursday, June 6.


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