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5G Players Pack the House in New York City

portrait of Tim Doiron

October 14, 2019
By Tim Doiron
Sr. Director, Solution Marketing

Highlights from the Light Reading 5G Transport & the Edge Conference

Last week, Light Reading hosted the 5G Transport & The Edge conference in New York City, with a focus on the network architectures and core network services that will drive the performance needed for new 5G services.

The conference kicked off with a keynote from Glenn Wellbrock, Director, Optical Transport Network – Architecture, Design & Planning for Verizon. Glenn really set the stage by talking about Verizon’s deep fiber investments and how in their initial 30 5G metros, they are adding 1,400 route miles of fiber each month. Glenn then went on to share how Verizon is using low-band, mid-band, and millimeter-wave radio frequency spectrum and how it impacts the distributed nature of their 5G RAN functions, with multiple functional combinations resulting in the need for varied transport solutions including NG-PON2, wireless (including E-band and integrated), WDM via a gateway, and straight radio connections.

I participated in a panel discussion about 5G RAN’s impact to mobile transport. There was a lot of discussion around the need for a toolbox approach to mobile transport that includes Ethernet-based Time-Sensitive Networking; cost-effective and automated DWDM, like Infinera’s Auto-Lambda; IP/MPLS routing; and software automation to bring transport, RAN, and mobile core together for advanced service delivery like ultra-reliable, low-latency services.

Infinera’s Jon Baldry also participated on a panel discussion about the challenges of 5G timing and synchronization. The bottom line on synchronization: it requires thoughtful network planning and capable infrastructure just like the data plane and the rest of the network. While GPS-based timing may have been the priority previously due to signal jamming and urban dead spots, Precision Time Protocol and network-based timing were definitely the priority at this show.  For more information on network synchronization, read Jon’s latest blog post, “Tick, Tock…Is Sync the Ticking Timebomb in Your Network?”.

Other notable presenters included Kristen Young, Technology Strategy, Architecture & Planning for Verizon, who detailed the need for and use of network orchestration in Verizon’s network, and Sam Mindlin, Audio Program Director, Applied Edge Concepts Team Lead for Verizon, who discussed the role of multi-access edge compute or mobile edge compute (MEC) and how APIs will drive new MEC offerings aimed initially at gamers, video providers, and high-quality audio programming.

Overall, it is clear that the 5G market as a whole is maturing, as the Light Reading event was very well attended and packed with timely 5G topics and informative dialogue from key industry players. Many thanks to the entire Light Reading team, especially Heavy Reading’s Gabriel Brown, Principal Analyst, Mobile Networks and 5G and Sterling Perrin, Principal Analyst, Optical Networking & Transport.