WBBA issues IP networking wish list for 5.5G

The World Broadband Association (WBBA) says IP network infrastructure needs upgrading if it's going to support the kind of services that will be carried by 5.5G and 6G networks.

Nick Wood

July 5, 2024

2 Min Read

The industry group has published a white paper that details its technical recommendations for how to evolve these networks to create what it calls a 'Net5.5G framework' – a future-proof digital IP transport foundation that can deliver secure operations, reduced construction costs, and improved network efficiency.

"Developments in AI computing applications and the metaverse have raised expectations of service agility and immersive experience assurance in business and consumer markets, and the networks currently in use are struggling to cope," asserts Tayeb Ben Meriem, WBBA working group co-chair, vice chair of the IPv6 Forum, and co-author of the white paper. "IP transport networks must now be upgraded to support the increasing requirements from homes, business enterprises and mobile sites."

WBBA says there are three defining characteristics of the ideal next-generation IP network:

- One network for all services

- One network to multiple clouds for cloud-network synergy

- Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) intelligent operations and management (O&M).

Understandably, high bandwidth and low latency are a given for the WBBA's wish list, since these capabilities will underpin the real-time services and the high throughput that is expected to become the norm in the 5.5G era.

As such, the WBBA recommends metro, core and data centre networks (DCNs) be upgraded to 400 Gigabit Ethernet (GE). On the access side, networks need to be upgraded to 10-Gbps, including mobile broadband, home broadband, campus network, and enterprise private lines. WBBA said Wi-Fi 7 and experience-centric network architecture are needed to guarantee service quality on campus networks.


To support intelligent O&M, WBBA urges network operators to upgrade from level 3 (conditionally autonomous) network operations to L4, or highly autonomous network operations.

WBBA said IPv6 together with SRv6 (segment routing version 6 – a successor to MPLS) is the secret sauce that will make this new framework hang together.

IPv6 "offers flexibility in deploying emerging use cases and technologies such as 10G to the site, Wi-Fi 7, end-to-end 400GE, deterministic networking, and an application/computing-aware network with SRv6 for extensible capabilities," WBBA said. "Cloud-network convergence with 10-Gbps access technologies, SRv6 IP transport network, and data centre network (DCN) overall single-view management, is the key to enabling true business success."

WBBA doesn't give a specific deadline for getting all these upgrades in place; however, it says many of the services that will come to rely on this architecture – AI-powered services, extended reality and so-on – are on course for reaching mainstream adoption by the end of this decade.

"From now through 2030 and beyond, remote-sensing technologies, remote AI applications and supercomputing will be the main drivers for ubiquitous 10-Gbps ultra-broadband deployments," said co-author Zhong Hua Chen, senior engineer and project manager at China Telecom, and WBBA working group chair. "To support these scenarios, we need networks that can ensure high bandwidth and low latency, while being managed by intelligent end-to-end digital maps."

About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

Get the latest news straight to your inbox.
Register for the Telecoms.com newsletter here.

You May Also Like