The 5G-Crosshaul consortium was selected in 2015 to develop a 5G integrated backhaul and fronthaul transport network that enables a flexible and software-defined reconfiguration of all networking elements in a multi-tenant and service-oriented unified management environment. The transport network flexibly interconnects distributed 5G radio access and core network functions hosted on in-network cloud nodes. This is achieved through the implementation of a control infrastructure using a unified, abstract network model for control plane integration and a unified data plane encompassing innovative high-capacity transmission technologies, as well as novel deterministic-latency switch architectures.
"It has been truly an honor to oversee one of the most ambitious 5G transport network research and development efforts to date," said Arturo Azcorra, Director of IMDEA Networks, Co-founder of 5TONIC, and Project Coordinator of 5G-Crosshaul. "The successful results of the 5G-Crosshaul project have advanced scientific knowledge and international standardization of 5G systems, and ultimately contributed to an increase in Europe's 5G global competitiveness."
The 5G-Crosshaul solution was demonstrated and validated through 18 experiments integrating multiple technology components from the partners. Real-world trials took place at sites in Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona and Taiwan, and delivered sub-millisecond latency, tens of Gbps throughput, and proven energy and cost savings up to 70%, depending on the deployment scenario. The trials also demonstrated fast service deployment time in the order of minutes, taking advantage of SDN and NFV concepts.
"The 5G-Crosshaul project has delivered a novel transport network that provides overall resource optimization and brings the CAPEX and OPEX investments to a reasonable ROI range," said Xavier Costa, Head of 5G Networks R&D and Deputy General Manager of the Security & Networking R&D Division, NEC Laboratories Europe, and the Technical Manager of the project. "This project's major innovation has set the stage to deliver on the huge increased available bandwidth and ultra-low-latency required by the fifth generation of network technologies."
Following its final project review by independent experts appointed by the European Commission, the 5G-Crosshaul project was declared to "have fully achieved its objectives and milestones and delivered exceptional results with significant immediate or potential impact". The EU experts report highlighted "Significant results linked to dissemination, exploitation and impact potential", in particular:
91 papers - in several prestigious journals
74 presentations/panels/webinars, and 14 (Co-)organized workshops
28 demonstrations, including at flagship events such as MWC'16 and MWC'17
35 normative contributions feeding into key standardization specifications of eCPRI, G.metro, IETF CCAMP, IETF DETNET, and ONF
25 contributions for information purposes in several standardization bodies such as NGMN, ITU-T, FSAN, ETSI, IEEE, BBF, ONF.
The EU experts report continued to note that "several key innovations have been identified, and some of them have been mapped to products for exploitation. The project has so far registered five patent applications. Future exploitation plans are expected to emerge by the partners, outside the project umbrella and based on these innovations."
"Throughout its lifetime, the 5G-Crosshaul project has successfully delivered 60-plus technological and informational contributions to the advancement of 5G standards," said Paola Iovanna, Ericsson, Innovation Manager of the project. "The project produced radical technology innovations, several directly mapped to products, setting this project as one of the most groundbreaking and unique projects to date."