Two forces are driving operators’ current and near-term network investments: densification, to increase capacity and cope with the constantly increasing data demands of mobile users; and virtualization, to capture the flexibility and nimbleness needed for new services. Both of these efforts are necessary for the transition to 5G networks.
The shift toward virtualized network functions and software-defined networks also presents the opportunity to sidestep the vendor lock-in that has come with each prior generation of mobile network technology. Leading global operators such as Vodafone, Telefonica, BT, Orange and TIM are participating in collaborations such as the Telecom Infra Project — and within TIP, its Open Optical & Packet Transport Project Group — which seek to avoid constraints on their choices of network software and hardware partners. TIP members like Vodafone, Telefonica and TIM Brazil have been conducting field trials this year of the Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG) from vendors including Delta Electronics.
One of the options that virtualized Mobile Access Networks offer is the ability to disaggregate hardware and software, opening up new network topology options. Still, an access gateway is needed for deployments of modern LTE or the latest 5G, and increased capacity is required of that box as well, according to Winnie Lin, VP of Advanced Platform from Delta Networks Infrastructure Business Unit (DNIBU). Because most base stations deployed from this point forward will use 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ interfaces, most of the currently deployed cell site gateways will be unsuitable to carry 5G traffic.
Lin said that Delta took several major factors into consideration in its design of its open cell site gateway: enabling it to be used easily in either brownfield or greenfield deployments to support 2G/3G/4G and future 5G networks with sufficient capacity and simple provisioning; timing and synchronization features, including IEEE-1588 v2 and Synchronous Ethernet protocols, to support the ultra-low-latency that will be demanded for future 5G applications; and an open and disaggregated architecture such that operators have several choices of network operating systems offered by software suppliers.
In addition, Lin said, the gateway has a small physical form factor of just one rack unit and can withstand large variations in operating temperature. Delta’s equipment is in trials now and the company expects to see large-scale deployments of its DCSG in second half of 2020.
To learn more about Delta Electronics’ DCSG, contact the company at www.delta-emea.com.
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