What the Haul?

5G is coming, and the pipes are getting fat. Please put a penny in the operator’s hat.

The standards bodies defining 5G services are having a fine old time dreaming up more and more new uses for the 5G mobile network, from ultra high-speed mobile broadband through to integrated transport networks and autonomous vehicles, connected wearables, mobile healthcare, sensor networks, container tracking, and wireless factory automation.

These all sound great, but you need a network to connect all of these services.  They all need very different performance and quality of service attributes.  Some services need high bit rates, some low latency, some guaranteed delivery, yet others high connection density, and combinations of all of these.  To deliver all of these services, the concept of network slicing has been invented.  This is a way of virtualizing the network such that each slice has different performance guarantees, but no slice will impact on the performance of the other slices.

This “slicing packet network” has required a re-architecture of the way cellular basestations are connected.  The basestations themselves have been broken up into portions, and the traditional backhaul network broken into “fronthaul”, “middlehaul” and “backhaul”. To understand how this all works, and how synchronization fits into the picture, come along to 27th Annual Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems (WSTS) June 18-21, 2018 in San Jose, CA to hear leading experts describe what the haul is going on.

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