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WDM in 5G optical access networks —Part II

Maury Wood

Product Line Manager

Maury Wood has spent most of his career in communications technologies and businesses, progressing from V.90 dial-up, xDSL broadband, 4G/5G, to optical networking. He focuses his efforts on North American key accounts for EXFO. Outside of work, Maury enjoys climbing and playing the bass.

In Part I, we covered the different types of WDM technologies and the key parameters to be controlled and measured everywhere on the network—from the backhaul to the fronthaul.

In many situations, simply running more backhaul and fronthaul fiber cables in conduits or strung overhead is not economically feasible, due to labor costs and outside plant capital costs.

It is possible to use hub and cell site link aggregation routers to relieve this “fiber exhaustion” bandwidth pressure, but single/dual wavelength approaches are not ultimately scalable, with the 5G 3GPP roadmap laying out bandwidth-intensive options such as FR2 mmWave, massive MIMO and Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP).

The most scalable and cost-effective options for 5G carriers are different forms of wavelength division multiplexing (WDM).

Key takeaways:

  • Various WDM options and advantages of WDM in 5G optical access networks
  • Recent component technology innovations that promise to radically change carrier economics of DWDM

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