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Microsemi, China Telecom collaborate on 5G-ready OTNs

Microsemi and China Telecom are working prepare optical transport networks for an avalanche of 5G use cases.

Semiconductor company Microsemi and China Telecom’s Beijing Research Institute are working on 5G-ready optical transport solutions, Microsemi announced yesterday.

Key to the effort is the DIGI-G5 chipset, Microsemi’s optical transport network (OTN) processor, which the company said triples network capacity while cutting power use by 50% per port. DIGI-G5 delivers combined OTN and client interfaces at 1.2 terabits per second and has newly standardized network protocols, such as 25 Gigabit Ethernet (GE), 50GE, 200GE, 400GE, Flexible OTN (FlexO) and Flexible Ethernet (FlexE).

Microsemi announced its new DIGI-G5 in March.

“China Telecom plans to be the pioneer in both 5G commercial service and 400G OTN network commercial deployments. A mobile-optimized converged metro, multiservice and cloud-based OTN transport network is critical to both initiatives,” said Zhang Chengliang, vice president of the China Telecom Beijing Research Institute said in a press statement. “The availability of Microsemi’s DIGI-G5 will help the industry deliver a new generation of OTN equipment to enable the 5G era.”

China Telecom is leading the Next-Generation Optical Transport Network Forum (NGOF) consortium, according to Microsemi’s press statement.

5G use cases add new requirements, such as network slicing, stringent latency and timing synchronization, onto optical transport networks. Ultrareliable low latency communication (uRLLC) and a huge increase in traffic are some of the 5G issues that networks have to tackle.

OTNs, often called ‘digital wrappers,’ transport any digital signal independent of client-specific aspects, says the International Telecommunications Union, which manages OTN standards. The OTN wraps client messages for transport over optical fiber. The ITU defines OTN as a set of “Optical Network Elements connected by optical fiber links, able to provide functionality of transport, multiplexing, routing, management, supervision and survivability of optical channels carrying client signals.”

Microsemi is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microchip Technology.

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