Analog optical fronthaul for 5G network architectures is currently being promoted as a bandwidth- and energy-efficient technology that can sustain the data-rate, latency and energy requirements of the emerging 5G era. This paper deals with a new optical fronthaul architecture that can effectively synergize optical transceiver, optical add/drop multiplexer and optical beamforming integrated photonics towards a DSP-assisted analog fronthaul for seamless and medium-transparent 5G small-cell networks. Its main application targets include dense and Hot-Spot Area networks, promoting the deployment of mmWave massive MIMO Remote Radio Heads (RRHs) that can offer wireless data-rates ranging from 25Gbps up to 400Gbps depending on the fronthaul technology employed. Small-cell access and resource allocation is ensured via a Medium-Transparent (MT-) MAC protocol that enables the transparent communication between the Central Office and the wireless end-users or the lamp-posts via roof-top-located V-band massive MIMO RRHs. The MTMAC is analysed in detail with simulation and analytical theoretical results being in good agreement and confirming its credentials to satisfy 5G network latency requirements by guaranteeing latency values lower than 1 ms for small- to midload conditions. Its extension towards supporting optical beamforming capabilities and mmWave massive MIMO antennas is discussed, while its performance is analysed for different fiber fronthaul link lengths and different optical channel capacities. Finally, different physical layer network architectures supporting the MT-MAC scheme are presented and adapted to different 5G use case scenarios, starting from PON-overlaid fronthaul solutions and gradually moving through Spatial Division Multiplexing up to Wavelength Division Multiplexing transport as the user density increases.
S. Papaioannou, G. Kalfas, C. Vagionas, C. Mitsolidou, P. Maniotis, A. Miliou, and N. Pleros, "5G small-cell networks leveraging optical technologies with mm-wave massive MIMO and MT-MAC protocols," Proc. SPIE 10559, Broadband Access Communication Technologies XII, 105590B (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 30, 2018; Published: 29 January 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2297276.
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