In the 4G and 4.5G era, Ethernet is the dominant data bearer technology due to its simple, effective and low-cost characteristics. In the coming 5G era, three key scenarios – MBB, mMTC and uRLLC – will set stringent requirements for bearer networks. Operators will need to satisfy 5G requirements such as fronthaul/backhaul convergence, service isolation and low-latency in Ethernet while maintaining its existing advantages. That will pose a new challenge to the mobile bearer network domain.
The Network 5.0 Team at Huawei’s Network Technology Laboratory, part of the company’s “Laboratory 2012” proposed the innovative X-Ethernet technology. The X-Ethernet solution fundamentally solves the problem brought by the high bandwidth, determinacy, low-latency, hard isolation and low-cost requirements of 5G. X-Ethernet holds many innovative features such as a Layer 1.5 Switch, Hybrid Multiplex and Ethernet E2E Flexible Hard Pipe.
The Layer 1.5 Switch is based on the native Ethernet kernel. Thus, it is compatible with traditional Ethernet. Since it can avoid L2/L3 packets storage-and-forwarding, deterministic low-latency can be guaranteed. In particular, this technology satisfies 5G’s low-latency requirement, and at the same time can support integrated fronthaul/backhaul.
The Hybrid Multiplex technology is realized by enhancing Ethernet code block function. It enables a TDM-like (owning the whole time slot) characteristics combining with Ethernet packets multiplexing (high network efficiency) characteristics.
Using an innovative path optimization algorithm based on SLA, Layer 1.5 Ethernet E2E Flexible Hard Pipe can be established, for service isolation and network slicing in the 5G era.
Huawei, as a member of the IMT-2020 Focus Group, participates in research on 5G bearer network technology. The company is open to collaboration with global partners, exploring Ethernet bearer network architecture and technologies to meet 5G requirements and develop new services.
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