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Smart Internet Lab hosts successful completion of EU project, 5G-XHaul

Press release issued: 4 July 2018

The EU project 5G-XHaul concluded at the end of June 2018. The final event was organised by the Smart Internet Lab's High Performance Network Group (HPN) at the University of Bristol, UK.

The event was attended by over 35 people, including the 5G-XHaul EU Project Officer, the technical experts evaluating the project, project partners, and invited participants representing other projects running under the 5G Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP), as well as local industries.

The event included a set of technical demonstrations hosted at the Smart Internet Lab and a final field trial across the city of Bristol.

5G-XHaul was a Phase 1, collaborative project funded by the European Commission under the framework of the 5G-PPP. The project consortium comprises twelve partners, including several Operators, Vendors, Small & Medium Enterprises, Research Centres and Universities.

The objective of the project was to address the requirements of future 5G networks, where the increased demand for mobile connectivity introduced the need for a large number of smaller cells at specific locations. This makes traditional distributed Radio Access Networks costly, inefficient and unsustainable, requiring more centralized architectural models. To solve this issue, the Cloud Radio Access Network architecture was proposed, but required high bandwidth and low latency transport links, known as fronthaul.

In view of these challenges, 5G-XHaul focused on the development of a converged network solution integrating novel optical and wireless technologies to offer both fronthaul and backhaul services. The 5G-XHaul infrastructure was controlled by a flexible and scalable control plane relying on software defined networking (SDN). The combination of these technologies allowed for combined support of end-user and operational services.

The final project event included lab demonstrations of the Time Shared Optical Network, the Wavelength Division Multiplexing - Passive Optical Network, the massive MIMO array and the mmWave transceiver solution hosted at the Smart Internet Lab's HPN laboratory.

A city-wide field trial, carried out in Bristol, integrating the novel 5G-XHaul optical and wireless technologies and controlled by the 5G-XHaul control plane, showcased the overall project architecture. The functionality and end-to-end performance of this field demonstration verified the suitability of the 5G-XHaul solution for 5G. 

Prof. Eckhard Grass (IHP), Coordinator of the project stated:

“All demonstrations ran very smoothly and robustly showing the developed concepts in practical applications. This is the result of some intense work and constructive cooperation over the last 3 years. All partners will benefit from the outcome of this joint work which is reflected in scientific publications, standards, patents and product developments. In fact, most partners are continuing their cooperation in another European Project with the acronym 5G-PICTURE.”

Dr. Daniel Camps-Mur (i2CAT), Technical Manager 5G-XHaul:

“5G-XHaul has managed to fully deliver on the promise of a converged fronthaul and backhaul architecture, combining wireless and optical SDN technologies, which has been demonstrated in operational conditions in a city-wide testbed. We believe the results achieved in 5G-XHaul are a key stepping-stone towards the practical deployment of high capacity 5G networks.”

Dr. Anna Tzanakaki (University of Bristol):

“The University of Bristol is recognised as world leader in 5G research and has recently demonstrated early 5G deployments and trials. With the latest 5G-XHaul demonstration we have showcased the first city wide trial adopting the University’s Time Shared Optical Network, proving the important role of optical networking in 5G and further strengthening the University's 5G leadership position.”


Further information

About the Smart Internet Lab 

The Smart Internet Lab builds on strategic and applied research on key communications and digital technologies at the University of Bristol to create, and permanently support, a hub for Internet Research with long lasting benefits for society and economy.

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