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May 26th, 2021

Removing 5G roadblocks: Is it time to overhaul how we order backhaul?

One of the interesting things about 5G is that for a mobile technology, there sure is a lot of wired infrastructure powering things behind the scenes. In fact, 5G X-haul-related optical network technology spending is expected to more than double by 2026

That’s because the underlying mobile transport network must evolve to support all the new applications that 5G is expected to bring. Voice traffic, mobile data, and video traffic all need to be backhauled to and from mobile cellular base stations to the core network. 

And with 5G, there is a new network architecture designed to support SLA-driven, latency-sensitive applications and services – which puts new strains on underlying backhaul networks. For example, with the disaggregation of the 5G Radio Access Network, there are simply more macro and micro cells to connect, more ‘X-haul’ to manage, and more fiber to be sourced. And of course, it all needs work together in a coordinated way. Neustar’s Universal Order Connect (UOC) takes the complexity out of the X-haul ordering process. 

What's exciting about 5G/IP optical transport?

  • Backhaul requirements will grow from 10 Gbit/s for 4G, up to 100 Gbit/s for 5G.
  • Mid-haul is a completely new ‘haul’ for 5G – requiring new, low-latency ethernet connections.
  • Fronthaul connections are shorter –from 15-20 kilometers for 4G, to 10 kilometers or less for 5G, resulting in increased fronthaul fiber deployments.

These changes are requiring mobile operators to rethink and reconfigure their underlay transport networks, and for many, this is a massive undertaking. To put it in perspective, a large tier-1 operator building out their 5G network may have as many as 50,000 macro-cells to connect. And of course, much of this fiber needs to be leased from other providers.  

This involves a lot of back-office coordination. Everything from finding the appropriate provider and managing all the provider details and the quoting process, to placing and tracking the orders through to completion. That’s a lot to handle, especially when many operators are still relying on spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls - plus a lot of time and manual effort – to get the job done.

In an ideal world, mobile operators should simply be able to enter an address to see serviceability options, determine orderable network service products and pricing, place the order, and then receive proactive notifications regarding the status of their order. 

This is what today’s e-commerce world has evolved into, why should commissioning mobile IP and optical transport services be different?  Operator digital transformation initiatives shouldn’t overlook this critical piece. With so much riding on the launch of your 5G network, there’s no reason to risk creating bottlenecks from outdated ordering systems and processes.

Trusted by some of the world’s largest wireless providers, Neustar’s Universal Order Connect (UOC) is a cloud-based solution that simplifies and automates the sourcing and managing of all your ‘hauls’ - saving time, money and resources. UOC  eliminates the manual, swivel-chair approach to managing all your third party IP/optical transport orders. Read the white paper: Removing 5G roadblocks: overcoming transport ordering challenges.  


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