New optical technologies for the needs of 5G applications

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The Optical Communications Group (GCO) at the UPC leads the ALLIANCE B project to design an optimised optical network infrastructure for rolling out 5G applications. It must be capable of interconnecting anything (for example, people, things, processes and contents) in any place, through a set of network services that really meet communication requirements (in terms of bandwidth, latency, reliability, etc.).


These network services must be orchestrated end-to-end over several segments or sections of the network and computational resources (IT) with varying characteristics. The aim is to ensure high scalability and reactivity in the face of unexpected traffic and resource state changes in an energy-efficient way.

In ALLIANCE B, new transmission techniques have been researched based on advanced modulation formats to optimise spectral efficiency and energy consumption throughout the optical network. This creates a high capacity, flexible optical network that can support the establishment of 5G services. In addition, optical network infrastructures that are spectrally flexible (in signal commutation) are being investigated, with ultra-high capacity compared to current optical systems.

The project has also focused on architectures and technologies for the control and management of virtualised infrastructure resources for optimal provision of end-to-end services.

ALLIANCE-B works on the design and implement management and orchestration solutions based on cognitive techniques to guarantee the quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) of services that are rolled out. One ambitious objective of ALLIANCE-B has been to design and implement machine learning-based techniques for optimal end-to-end service provision.

The project lasts three years (January 2018 to September 2021) and has received 91 million euros of funding from the RETOS programme of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.

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