With the spectrum allocations for 5G mobile systems growing alongside the rollout of the 5G network itself, an increase in transport network capacity is needed in order for the network platform to be as effective and efficient as possible. This means high-capacity and cost-effective optical solutions are required to make up the 5G transport networks.
To achieve this, Ericsson, in collaboration with Nokia, has created the MOPA initiative, but what is it?
What is the MOPA initiative and why are Ericsson and Nokia using it?
Optics is one of the critical technologies for the fifth-generation network. Ericsson says that ensuring that the optics needed for a 5G rollout are available to use on time is important. It is also necessary that they are available at the right cost. So that this happens with absolute certainty, specific requirements need to be in place. Firstly, Ericsson says that the industry “needs to have a common and shared view of what the right optical and pluggable variants are. It needs to know details such as data rates, distances, wavelengths, and much more besides. The optical space is more diverse than the needs and evolution of mobile networks coming from 3GPP, using several different architectures and proposed solutions.
However, this cannot happen without an understanding of the most important deployment cases, which Ericsson hopes to achieve through leading systems and optical pluggable vendors working out and documenting together the deployment cases and ensuring that the public has access to it.
The MOPA initiative involves 23 experts from Ericsson and Nokia, who have together produced a MOPA technical paper describing what they believe to be the most important optical solution deployment cases for 5G transport networks.
What does the MOPA technical paper include?
Written by experts from Nokia and Ericsson, the MOPA technical paper looks at 5G’s background, evolution, and future from an optical transport perspective. Following this, the paper then establishes the general requirements for the network before describing the optical solutions and pluggables in terms of optical blueprints.
The blueprints come with a table of characteristics and illustrations, and each of the 19 blueprints is divided into the RAN deployment cases of distributed RAN, otherwise known as DRAN, centralised RAN (CRAN), and virtualised RAN (VRAN). The pluggables for the bitrates and interfaces of low-layer split (LLS) high-layer split (HLS), and backhaul are also included. Ericsson says that, among others, this combines the most important solutions into one technical paper for the first time.
Benefits of the MOPA initiative
The MOPA initiative has several benefits for the 5G network. Some of these benefits include:
- Mobile network operators, systems vendors, and optical pluggable vendors are able to gain from the common and shared view making it easier, and with lower risk, to estimate and plan the evolution of networks and products.
- R&D work can be done faster and more effectively with reduced risk.
- Better ecosystems with more stable and sustainable supply chains can be produced.
Without the MOPA initiative, mobile network operators could be at risk of using solutions and pluggables that are not suited for the future.