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Brand new 5G cellular networks receive higher capital funding than nearly any other telecommunication services. With 5G infrastructure progressing optical transport may be the single largest cost in a 5G network. According to Bill Gartner VP/GM of Cisco's Optical Systems and Optics Group, optics will exceed half the hardware cost when data rates reach 400 Gbit. With the performance and complexity of 5G networks it is now pushing equipment vendors to innovate

Numerous 5G features are helping to push this innovation:

● 5G specifications include URLLC (Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications) which defines the latency available between various points in the 5G architecture. Therefore, each component of the 5G optical network, 10, 25, 50, 100G provides an optical back haul.

● 5G requires a much greater number of cell sites. As data rates increase the distance between cells must decrease. Macro cell sites range from approximately 2km to 50km across, but small cell sites will be roughly 0.4 to 4km across to form a mesh network.

● Network optimization divides the available bandwidth efficiently so that 5G networks can support each service appropriately. Optical networks efficiently use the light spectrum of CWDM & DWDM.

● Protocols used in 5G (e.g. SyncE, eEEC, 1588v2.1) define data synchronization. While optics may not significantly affect sync variation, it will still be a consideration when selecting components.

● Wide temperature ranges in worldwide environments require optics of commercial and industrial types.

AddOn recognises the challenges of building 5G networks today that meet the needs and technical demands of tomorrow. Our expertise, inventory, compatibility testing, and service offerings enable you to build 5G optical transport that meets these requirements. A sample of the 5G related optical developments we are tracking include:

Tunable and auto-self tuning optics offering efficiencies for inventory as well as repair and disaster recovery that lower total cost of ownership.

Tunable Transceiver
Tunable Transceiver

Multiplexing and de-multiplexing options for 5G networks. Matching the port speed and wavelengths used with switches and base stations or antennas requires care in selecting the correct optics and DAC, AOC cables.


● Shorter front haul distances to the DU and mitigating the impact of PAM4 and FEC (Forward Error Correction) including coherent networks. Latency characteristics, and synchronization factors are variables that may have been minor factors in prior networks but become more important in 5G designs.

● Lifespan of the optical network and MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) metrics are critical as the number of optical components in the network increases.

With fast advancements in 5G optical transport and considering the large percentage of network spend represented by transport, choosing the right optical partner is now even more critical. AddOn can support you with an extensive range of optical solutions to match your needs. Which are all extensively tested in house across a very wide range of OEM equipment.

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