Huawei Leads FlexE-based 50GE Interface Testing to Facilitate Commercial Use of 5G

Guest author

September 18, 2017

4 Min Read

[Shenzhen, China, September 4, 2017] Huawei announced that its 50GE interface based on Flex Ethernet (FlexE) technology was the first such interface to pass functionality and performance testing organized by the China Mobile Research Institute. Testing results show that the interface is capable of line-rate forwarding at 50 Gb/s with a transmission range of 40 km, performance that is sufficient for the access layer of 5G metro bearer networks. The interface also supports FlexE network slicing, enabling flexible adjustment of bandwidth and strict isolation of services. The 50GE interface’s successful testing represents a major step toward commercial use of 5G bearer networks as it shows that 50GE technology is mature and capable of meeting business requirements.

The 50GE interface is designed to be used as a high-speed interface on the access layer of 5G bearer networks. Peak bandwidth at 5G base stations will increase to 10 Gb/s, and it is estimated that bandwidth on the access ring of bearer networks will exceed 26 Gb/s; considering the extremely high bandwidth required, 50GE technology is clearly the best choice for the access ring of next-generation bearer networks. Through a 25G optical component and PAM4 encoding, the 50GE interface provides the bandwidth needed by 5G while keeping network construction costs to a minimum. Furthermore, the interface features FlexE technology, enabling differentiated bearing for 5G services. This technology provides flexible hard and soft pipes to isolate service channels and guarantee ultra-low latency for services.

This round of testing was focused on service throughput, line-rate forwarding, optical indicators, and FlexE-based service isolation, latency, and OAM. To create the test environment, 50GE interfaces were used to network three transport devices. Packets of different lengths were sent between the devices one length at a time to test line-rate forwarding, and packet loss was found to be zero for a long period of time. The optical indicator test determined that the interface, which supports both 10 km and 40 km optical modules, can successfully meet requirements for access ring coverage on metro networks. Next, the effectiveness of FlexE network slices was tested under simulated service congestion. No services on the FlexE pipes were affected by the congestion, and end-to-end bandwidth was guaranteed without preemption. Inter-slice service isolation and intra-slice statistical multiplexing results met expectations as well. These results show that the interface is capable of ensuring that integrated services do not affect each other while providing ultra-low latency communication. Finally, the basic functions of FlexE hard pipes, including addition, deletion, and modification, were successfully tested, showing that the technology can guarantee differentiated bearing for 5G IoT, vertical industry, and many other services.

A representative from the China Mobile Research Institute stated, “China Mobile gives top priority to bearer networks in the commercial use of 5G. With our partners, we have been exploring 5G transport network construction from the beginning, and we believe that 50GE is the most promising direction of research into 5G networks. China Mobile intends to increase investment into 5G standardization and continue leading the industry chain in making 5G transport devices more ready for commercial deployment. The results of this round of 50GE testing clearly show that FlexE-based 50GE interfaces can be used commercially. This technology forms a solid foundation on which to build 5G networks and increases confidence that they will be deployed at an early date.”

This testing was an important milestone for Huawei’s X-Haul solution for 5G bearing in putting into practice the concepts of providing flexible access capabilities that can match the scenario of any site and supporting smooth evolution from 4G bearer networks to 5G bearer networks. Huawei is dedicated to creating 5G bearer networks that can be continually evolved and will continue to increase its investment in 5G bearing to help carriers deploy 5G commercially as soon as possible.

To promote the development of the UBB industry and explore ways to boost service growth, Ultra-Broadband Forum (UBBF) 2017, is to be held from October 18 to October 19, 2017 in Hangzhou, China. This UBBF will focus on the topics of “New Growth in B2B”, “Deliver the Video Dividends”, “Accelerating the Gigaband Society”, and “Towards the 5G Era” and on the innovation of All-Cloud Network solutions. Huawei will comprehensively demonstrate how X-Haul will help operators keep up with service requirements in the 5G era, promoting the full deployment of 5G bearer networks. For more information, please visit:


About Huawei
Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Our aim is to enrich life and improve efficiency through a better connected world, acting as a responsible corporate citizen, innovative enabler for the information society, and collaborative contributor to the industry. Driven by customer-centric innovation and open partnerships, Huawei has established an end-to-end ICT solutions portfolio that gives customers competitive advantages in telecom and enterprise networks, devices and cloud computing. Huawei’s 180,000 employees worldwide are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers. Our innovative ICT solutions, products and services are used in more than 170 countries and regions, serving over one-third of the world’s population. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.
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