Redesigning fronthaul for next-generation networks: beyond baseband samples and point-to-point links


The fronthaul is an indispensable enabler for 5G networks. However, the classical fronthauling technique demands massive bandwidth, low latency, and tight synchronization from the transport network, and only allows for purpose-to-purpose logical topology. This greatly limits the usage of fronthaul in several 5G eventualities. In this article, we have a tendency to introduce a brand new perspective to perceive and style fronthaul for next-generation wireless access. We enable the renovated fronthaul to transport info other than time-domain I/Q samples and to support logical topologies beyond point-to-purpose links. During this means, different operate splitting schemes can be incorporated into the radio access network to satisfy the bandwidth and latency requirements of ultradense networks, control/data decoupling architectures, and delay-sensitive communications. At the identical time, huge cooperation and devicecentric networking might be effectively enabled with point-to-multipoint fronthaul transportation. We have a tendency to analyze 3 distinctive design requirements for the renovated fronthaul, including the flexibility to handle various payload traffic, support different logical topology, and offer differentiated latency guarantee. Following this analysis, we tend to propose a reference architecture for designing the renovated fronthaul. The desired functionalities are categorized into four logical layers and realized using novel technologies such as decoupled synchronization layer, packet switching, and session-based mostly control. We also discuss some vital future research problems.

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