Metro-Haul Project plots optical metro SDN for 5G

Created April 9, 2019
Applications and Research

At the end of the sixth quarter of its three-year project, the Metro-Haul consortium met this month to take stock and plan how to convert its architecture, requirements, and research into practical demonstrations of technology and use cases. The Metro-Haul research and innovation programme is working to design and build a smart optical metro infrastructure able to support traffic originating from heterogeneous 5G access networks, addressing the anticipated capacity increase and its specific characteristics. These characteristics include mobility, low latency, low jitter and so on. This infrastructure will also support a wide variety of services and use cases with special emphasis on services from various industries vertical to ICT. The latest meeting was hosted by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) at its campus in Barcelona.

“UPC is a leader in research and development for networking, and is playing an important part in the Metro-Haul project,” said Prof. Luis Velasco. “We are pleased to host this meeting and see so many people having energetic debates about the networks that will support so many critical services in the 5G world.”

Prof. Velasco (pictured) is heading up UPC’s contribution to Metro-Haul, and convened and hosted the meeting. “The future of the Internet experience for users is dependent on the successful roll-out of 5G services and networks,” he observed. “Many future applications from enhanced road safety to automated manufacturing systems will rely on reliable, high-bandwidth, low-latency wireless networks.”

Prof. Velasco emphasised the importance of the Metro-Haul project plenary meeting: “We are currently at the stage of planning some advanced SDN-based demonstrations using optical hardware from multiple vendors, so this face-to-face meeting has enabled us to work out how different components will be interfaced do build credible proof-of-concept networks for real-world use cases. Having these conversations on a phone call would have not have allowed us to achieve the required progress at this critical point in the project.”

“Metro-Haul is currently over-achieving with a truly remarkable amount of dissemination from the project so far,” continued Albert Rafel from British Telecom, the Metro-Haul lead partner. “Our challenge for the next phase is to show how the application of flexible optical technologies in the metro network can be combined with software control to deliver quantifiable benefits in support of emerging 5G applications.”

“Metro-Haul is in an unusual position because the project is not working directly on 5G technology or networking,” Albert added. “However, disaggregating the optical metro network should enable an intelligent and flexible infrastructure to underlay the wide variety of 5G applications and use cases. Coordinating our work with the 5G-PPP initiative is very important to our success and relevance.”

Launched in mid-2017, the Metro-Haul Project receives €7.7 million funding (G.A. 761727) from the Horizon 2020 EU research and innovation programme.

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This article was written
by John Williamson

John Williamson is a freelance telecommunications, IT and military communications journalist. He has also written for national and international media, and been a telecoms advisor to the World Bank.