Beyond 5G: continuity of optical networks

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The capacity to host the transmission of increasingly big and complex data has benefitted enormously from the transition towards optical networks. This type of transmission has enabled a highway of information to be achieved in which fibre optical cables can transport a large “load” or flow of information.

Researchers from the Advanced Broadband Communications Centre (CCABA) and the Optical Communications Group (GCO) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC) participate in the B5G-OPEN (Beyond 5G – OPtical nEtwork coNtinuum) project. This project is funded by the European Union, in the framework of which a new end-to-end integrated packet-optical transport architecture based on multiband optical transmission and switching networks is being designed and prototyped.

This new multiband transmission system increases the available capacity of optical fibres and enables transmission in the S, E and O bands, in addition to the C and C+L bands that are currently used. The use of the new bands is translated into a potential 10 times capacity increase and lower latency for services beyond 5G. To realize multiband networks, technology advances are required in data, control and management areas. This can be achieved through new amplifiers, filterless subsystems and add/drop multiplexers, among other devices.

Multiband availability and transmission will also lead to a complete redesign of the end-to-end architecture, to eliminate boundaries between network domains and reduce intermediate electronic terminations.

Results and impact

The project will test a new design to support multiband elements and a network architecture “without domains” that will serve to feed artificial intelligence and automatic learning algorithms, and lead towards fully autonomous networks.

The results will be shown in two final demonstrations in which the benefits of the project will be presented from the perspectives of the operator and the user.

B5G-OPEN will have a clear impact on society and provide greater capacity to support 5G (and subsequent) services and the new traffic patterns, to meet increasing connectivity needs.

Consortium, budget and funding

The consortium includes 17 members from 8 countries, including three major telecommunications operators, three suppliers, four SMEs and four research and academic centres. Led by Telefonica, in addition to the UPC, in Spain participants include the Telecommunications Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTTC), the University Carlos III of Madrid and E-lighthouse Network Solutions. The B5G-OPEN project has a total budget of €5,465,068.75 and is funded through the Horizon 2014-2020 programme (November 2021 – October 2024).



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