Telenor Deploys 5G xHaul Transport Network from Cisco and NEC; xHaul & ITU-T G.8300 Explained

NEC Corp. and Cisco have been selected by Telenor to deploy 5G xHaul transport networks in Norway and Denmark.  5G-xHaul proposes a converged optical and wireless network solution able to flexibly connect Small Cells to the core network.

In April this year, NEC and Cisco entered a Global System Integrator Agreement (GSIA) to expand their partnership for accelerating the deployment of innovative 5G IP transport network solutions worldwide. This project is a flagship initiative in which the two companies take full advantage of the GSIA and collaborate to deliver state-of-the-art networks to the customer.

NEC and Telenor have a well-established history of working together, and this project is an extension of a global frame agreement signed in 2016 for Telenor’s 4G IP / Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network in Scandinavia, to deliver next-generation networks to the operator.

For this specific project, Cisco will supply its NCS 540 series as the cell site router and NEC will provide value added services built on its expertise both in the IT and network domain to implement an architecture that enables flexible and highly scalable end-to-end IP/MPLS networks with bandwidth that can support the high-capacity and low-latency communication required by 5G.

“As a One-stop Network Integrator, NEC takes a customer-first approach, providing optimal solutions that match individual requirements based on our best-of-breed ecosystem, consisting of NEC’s own products and those from industry-leading partners such as Cisco. We are excited to contribute to the advancement of Telenor’s 5G network evolution,” said Mayuko Tatewaki, General Manager, Service Provider Solutions Division, NEC Corporation.

“At Cisco, we continue to look for ways we can shape the future of the internet by providing unparalleled value to our customers and our partners,” said Shaun McCarthy, Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Mass Infrastructure Group, Cisco. “Through our partnership with NEC, we can help Telenor connect more people in Norway and Denmark and provide the automation and orchestration necessary to meet future demands on the network.”

Cisco believes that a converged, end-to-end packet infrastructure, beginning in the access layer and stretching via the network data center all the way to the core, based upon segment routing and packet-based QoS, provides the underlying xHaul transport network (see Figure below). This provides the most flexibility of application placement, the best scalability, the most robust reliability, and the leanest operational costs. On top of this, we layer VPN services, either based on BGP-based VPNs or business software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technologies, to provide the means to support a multi-service environment capable of supporting strict SLAs.

Overall Architecture for 5G xHaul:

Editor’s Note:

ITU-T G.8300 recommendation “Characteristics of transport networks to support IMT-2020/5G” defines the requirements for the Physical layer transport network support for the 5G fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul networks. The digital clients are the digital streams to/from the 5G entities (e.g., RU, DU, CU, 5GC/NGC) and other digital clients carried in the access, aggregation and core transport networks. The requirements and characteristics are documented for each of the fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul networks as defined in this recommendation.
The factors addressed include:
• Relationship of 5G network architecture to transport network architecture
• Operations, administration, and maintenance (OAM) requirements
• Timing performance and time/synchronization distribution architecture
• Survivability mechanisms


NEC and Telenor have worked together before, with this announcement representing an extension of a previous global frame agreement signed in 2016 for Telenor’s 4G IP/Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network in Scandinavia. As part of the agreement, the system integrated helped Telenor prepare, enable and perform the migration of services in a turnkey arrangement.

Going forward, NEC and Cisco will continue making collaborative efforts to further enhance their joint solution portfolio and to optimize regional activities for advancing the digital transformation of customers across the globe.


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