Infinera, provider of Intelligent Transport Networks, and EBlink, pioneer of wireless fronthaul technology, announced a partnership to deliver both fiber and wireless based solutions and to provide an end-to-end fronthaul architecture. In a live field trial with Orange, the Infinera TM-Series and EBlink's FrontLink™ solutions delivered mobile fronthaul networking services for Orange's 4G network in western France, interconnecting baseband units (BBU) and remote radio heads (RRH) from several of Orange's Radio Access Network (RAN) vendors.
In the live field trial, the combined Infinera TM-Series and EBlink FrontLink solution demonstrated on Orange's network how it can deliver a unique end-to-end performance combining fiber and wireless for mobile fronthaul for today's mobile infrastructure and for future advanced 4G and 5G mobile networks. Where fiber exists, the Infinera TM-Series delivers bandwidth using high capacity wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) technology. Where there is no fiber, EBlink's wireless fronthaul is complementary to the WDM fronthaul solution, enabling mobile operators to bridge the "very last mile" which can, in certain locations, be difficult to reach with fiber connections. In the live field trial, the combined solutions worked together seamlessly without disruption in the network.
Mobile fronthaul is a market opportunity that is emerging as mobile operators move to centralized and cloud-based radio access networks (C-RAN) and plan for deployment of high bandwidth 4G, 5G and small cell architectures.
"Mobile fronthaul is a challenging environment with tough requirements on latency and synchronisation for optical solutions," said Sten Nordell, CTO of Infinera's Metro Business Group. "As one of the few suppliers capable of achieving these requirements, we are very pleased to partner with EBlink and Orange to demonstrate that the combination of fiber and wireless is the right alchemy for mobile fronthaul."
"This partnership with Infinera reaffirms the relevance of our wireless fronthaul technologies and how complementary fiber and wireless can be," said Eric Sèle, deputy CEO of EBlink. "The deployment of the Infinera and EBlink solutions on Orange's network underscores the concept that wireless fronthaul picks up where fiber leaves off."
"Combining fiber and wireless is key to a successful mobile fronthaul implementation," said Philippe Chanclou at Orange Labs. "Infinera and EBlink have shown the feasibility of integration of mobile fronthaul with Orange RAN vendors and have demonstrated end-to-end performance, and we are pleased with the trial results," added Sebastien Randazzo, project leader of fronthaul trials at Orange France.