ATLANTA–Although much of the wireless industry’s 5G focus is on the Radio Access Network, transport network providers have to be just as ready for 5G as the rest of the network in order for 5G services to be successfully delivered, panelists said during a session at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo.

“You’ll hear more and more people say that 5g is going to change everything. It’s going to change our lives, it’s going to change all parts of the network,” said Brian Lavallée, senior director of portfolio marketing for Ciena, during a panel session at the SCTE ISBE Cable-Tec Expo — and that “all parts” includes the networks of cable and transpoHe went on to say, “Most of the 5g attention is around the radios, it’s the upcoming handsets. … Very little attention is being spent on the wireline network — but if you actually think about it, what is a mobile network? It’s a massive wireline network with radios and antenna hanging off the end of it.”

In particular, Lavallée said that the current 5G battleground on the wireline side centers around the backhaul, fronthaul and “midhaul” space, where mobile network operators want more open standards in the connections between the radios and the baseband units rather than proprietary implementations.

“I think the time is now,” he said. “If the industry doesn’t adopt an open approach, we may have another decade of proprietary, closed architectures. … There’s a lot that has to change,”Lavallée added. “If you want to guarantee the end-to-end performance of these 5G use cases, you have to make sure that every piece of that network, from the user equipment to the data center — and we’re also including storage and compute as well — have to be up to speed, to give you those performance guarantees.

“5G has a lot of promise. It also has a lot of complexity,” he continued. “It’s going to be a multi-year journey. It’s not an upgrade, it’s a multi-year journey on the wireless and the [wireline]sides of the house.”

Watch an excerpt from the panel session below:



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