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Use WDM to maximise infrastructure for 5G success

Use WDM to maximise infrastructure for 5G success

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With new technologies regularly being rolled out for 5G – the fifth generation of mobile networks – operators can maximise their existing infrastructure to meet customer demands with waveguide division multiplexing (WDM). This is according to ProLabs, a global leader in optical networking infrastructure, as telecom providers continue to prepare their networks globally for the next wave of wireless communication.

Marcel Fouché, Networking and Storage General Manager at value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited Africa, which distributes ProLabs in Sub-Saharan Africa, points out that investing in new optical fibre infrastructure is expensive, and many operators are considering re-using passive optical networks (PONS).

“ProLabs, however, suggests a better option to maximise existing assets while simultaneously planning for the future, namely a combination of WDM and common public radio interface (CPRI),” he said.

“WDM enables the operator to send more than one data bit down the same fibre length at the same time. It fully maximises existing optical fibre infrastructure by adding multiple wavelengths to send data across the same fibre, increasing the rate of data transfer and multiplying capacity.”

The new range of WDM transceivers from ProLabs performs in environmental extremes – its wavelength-stabilising technology can endure temperatures from as low as -40°C to as high as +85°C, making this an ideal complement to existing fibre infrastructures.

As the country’s major mobile network operators continue waiting for details around the release of final radio frequency spectrum allocation for both 4G and 5G networks, Fouché notes that infrastructure preparations still need to be made in advance of the regulatory clarity.

“While the state has delayed in allocating both 4G and 5G radio spectrum in South Africa, local network providers need to plan now for their networks’ future 5G requirements,” he said.

“From a practical perspective, 5G will need more bandwidth per cell. The use of WDM allows operators to get the most out of current fibre networks and deliver an increased capacity, while the combination of CPRI will bring a major increase in speed. This means that service providers can use this offering across their entire infrastructure.”

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