Time to Recognise India's 5G dream with Make in India - Ciena India: TLF 2022

At the recently held TLF 2022, Digvijay Sharma, Senior Director- Sales, Ciena Communications, India, talked about India's dream of 5G

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Digvijay Sharma min

At the recently held TLF 2022, Digvijay Sharma, Senior Director- Sales, Ciena Communications, India, talked about India's dream of 5G, the challenges for service providers, and how Make in India and Ciena can solves these problems for service providers and overall market.



Three Corner Stones of 5G

5G is one of the most promising technology. It provides connectivity anywhere at any time to anyone and to anything. There are three key cornerstones of 5G. One is enhanced mobile broadband, which talks about very large, very high capacities up to 10 gig per subscriber and second aspect, mMTC which is massive machine type communication, which talks about scale and ultra-low latency (U-rLLC), which is about the latency. All these put together gives a wide variety of solutions to the industry. This helps to solve many use cases whether it is telemedicine, high speed trains, driverless cars, agriculture, or many other services. All these put together give a new driving engine to industry 4.0, Edge cloud, as well as industrial IoT.


There is a clear cut case that is coming up of private 5g in which intelligent solutions are coming up. Industry is excited about it, because 5G is such a better technology and has many advantages over existing technologies like 4G and Wi Fi.

Key Trends

What are the key things needed in 5G, their consequences,  impact on technology and service providers, and what kind of different solutions will be needed in order to meet those objectives.


Firstly, 5G requires more radio  because it needs more bandwidth and lesser latency. This leads to a technological impact from today's D-RAN - distributed radio network architecture to move towards C-RAN. This further leads to a requirement of mid haul, fronthaul and cloud RAN.

Since the network is scaling to much bigger architecture, much larger number of radios, we need a more simplified network architecture. For that segment, routing becomes a key requirement.

Another key aspect is when investors are going to invest in such a large infrastructure they need to monetize their network. For monetizing, one is the existing wholesale offerings, which would require multi-tenant support leading to a technical solution, which is FlexE, then differentiated services to different industries. Some industries would require low latency, some industries would require very high capacity, while some would like many connected devices. For that network, slicing becomes a key requirement.


5G use cases drive network impacts, so the bandwidth increases and the requirement of latency is far more stringent than any other predecessor technology. With high binary increase current 1 gig connectivity in the network would go to 10 gig,  25Gig, all the way up to 100 gig.

The latency will lead to edge compute, which is generating edge cloud infrastructures as well as time-sensitive networks.

Spectrum & Radio Densification Dynamics


5G is about higher capacities, which means higher throughput and more bandwidth, which means we need higher spectrum to carry more data. When we go higher into spectrum, propagation becomes restricted. That leads to a requirement of more cell sites, which means more radios.

As these technologies will be rolled out in phases, the first enablement of 5G will give 5G on the footprint of existing 4G spectrums. We will have 5G coverage but will not have higher bandwidth. In order to further increase bandwidth, we will need higher bands of spectrum which will lead to more radios.

With more advanced 5G use cases the densification of radio is going to increase. This has a clear-cut impact on network loads. In order to simplify those network loads, there are newer technology in the networks that are coming about.


How do we better scale the RAN? How do we reduce cost and complexity? By moving from distributed RAN to the cloud RAN. We split the radios into a more scalable model, which is more efficient both in terms of CapEx and OpEx, which means space and power. The BBU is moved out from the cell site and the RAN becomes centralized, rather than distributed RAN.

On each of the towers, we have a BBU down below in centralized RAN. This reduces cost, as well, and adds to the network simplicity. In all the current deployments, we have a mobile backhaul network in which there are access sites, aggregation sites, and core sites.

The network architecture deployment models on-site on fiber are going to be more or less the same, only densification would increase. At the network level, some simplifications like BBU would move from radio sites to a more central site. And this is further divided into DU & CU  (distributed unit as well as centralized unit). This would further move ahead and become virtualized in nature, rather than have physical components.


Most service providers would be moving in a phased-wise manner, in which multiple different architectures would be there, depending upon the cost, infrastructure, availability, and spectrum availability.

Multiple architectures would have different transport requirements. Service providers will have to choose a transport which not only caters to all the different requirements but is also Futuristic in nature.

Ciena’s Role

To meet these requirements, Ciena has a wide variety of product portfolios to talk about Xhaul families. These solutions can work in any RAN and are agnostic to various RAN vendors. They support a variety of front haul options and have adaptive IP capabilities and support different types of speeds and feeds, which help them cover a wide variety of capacity, latency, and network deployment requirements.

Ciena has 15 years of experience in the country, over 2000 employees, and about 1200 R&D  resources. Ciena has a presence in all the tier-one service providers like Airtel, JIO, Vodafone, and all key enterprise service providers. This helps us to understand the geography and local requirements in a much better manner. Ciena is going to Make in India. Together with local R&D and geographic expertise and local manufacturing capabilities, we would be able to serve our service providers and help them build 5G networks in a more effective manner. Ciena will manufacture select Routing and Switching portfolio products to support 5G use cases in India. This will not only be focused on India, but also on some nearby geographies. We have local demo labs which can validate the products that we are going to offer to customers before they are implemented in the network. With this, we will be able to help  Indian service providers realize their 5G dream.

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