5G backhaul requires more symmetry than previous wireless generations

By: Linda Hardesty 

Backhaul requirements within current wireless networks are largely asymmetrical with most traffic flowing from the core to the handset, according to Mark Gilmour, VP of mobile connectivity solutions at Colt Technology Service. But 5G networks will require more symmetrical backhaul capability.

He said mobile network architectures to date have been fairly straight-forward, comprised of a mobile packet core and a cell site baseband unit at the edge. “Traffic demand is 80% downloaded onto the handset,” said Gilmour. “It’s fairly asymmetric in traffic. It’s almost like a point-to-point.”

But 5G networks, ultimately, will have a different architecture with a core that is fully virtualized and disaggregated. The separation of hardware from software will permit certain parts of the core to be moved toward the edge, if desired. As the 5G core gets distributed, we’re going to see more communication not just from core to edge, but also from edge to core, and from cell site to edge, said Gilmour.

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