Removing 5G Roadblocks: Is it time to overhaul how we order backhaul?

Is it time to overhaul how you order backhaul? 

One of the interesting things about 5G is that for a mobile technology, there sure is a lot of wired infrastructure powering things behind the scenes.  In fact, 5G X-haul-related optical network technology spending is expected to more than double by 2026. (source: Engalco-Research)

This is because the underlying mobile transport network must evolve to support all these new applications that 5G is expected to bring. Voice traffic, mobile data, and video traffic all need to be backhauled to and from the mobile cellular base stations to the core network. And with 5G, there is a new network architecture designed to support SLA-driven applications and services – which puts new strains on underlying backhaul networks.  For example, with the disaggregation of the 5G RAN, there are simply more macro and micro cells to connect, more ‘x-haul’ to manage, and more fiber to be sourced. And of course, it all needs to work together in a coordinated way.

What’s different about 5G IP/Optical transport?

  • Backhaul requirements will grow from 10 Gbit/s for 4G, to 100 Gbit/s for 5G.
  • Mid-haul is a completely new ‘haul’ for 5G – requiring new, low-latency ethernet connections.
  • Fronthaul connections are shorter –from 15-20 kilometers for 4G, to 10 kilometers or less for 5G, resulting in increased fronthaul fiber deployments.

These changes are requiring mobile operators to rethink and reconfigure their underlay transport networks, and for many, this is a massive undertaking. To put it in perspective, a large tier-1 operator building out their 5G network may have as many as 50,000 macro-cells to connect. And of course, much of this fiber needs to be leased from other providers.  This involves a lot of back office coordination. Everything from finding the appropriate provider and managing all the provider details and the quoting process, to placing and tracking the orders through to completion. That’s a lot to manage, especially when many operators are still relying on spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls - plus a lot of time manual effort – to get the job done.

Mobile operators should simply be able to enter an address to see serviceability options, determine orderable network service products and pricing, place the order, and then receive proactive notifications regarding the status of their order. This is what today’s e-commerce world has evolved into, why should commissioning mobile IP and optical transport services be different?  Operator digital transformation initiatives shouldn’t overlook this critical piece. With so much riding on the launch of your 5G network, there’s no reason to risk creating bottlenecks from outdated ordering systems and processes.


Trusted by some of the world’s largest wireless providers, Universal Order Connect is a cloud-based solution that simplifies and automates the sourcing and managing of all your ‘hauls’ – saving time, money and resources. Universal Order Connect eliminates the manual, swivel-chair approach to managing all your 3rd party IP/Optical transport orders.



Neustar has partnered with Connected2Fiber to offer Universal Order Connect (UOC), a cloud-based platform that eliminates the manual, swivel-chair approach to finding, leasing, and managing transport services. The time-consuming process of searching for the appropriate provider is automated and streamlined. Mobile network operators can request the connectivity they need on a per-location basis and get instant results. Connectivity costs are calculated to ensure margins are maintained. Supplier information is centrally managed and easily referenceable, saving valuable time and resources.

Accurate ordering: The first time, every time
One of the biggest challenges when acquiring transport services is managing the complex and confusing mix of order requirements, terminology, and formats. The Neustar platform eliminates this issue by automatically translating and enriching order data into the formats your trading partners understand - whether it’s ASOG, MEF, TM Forum, or even proprietary broadband formats. Errors and fallout are reduced by pre-validating each order before it gets submitted. You can be confident your order is accurate the first time, every time.

Improve customer satisfaction
Once an order is placed there is often limited visibility into the status. UOC provides an interface that supports enhanced views from the seller, enabling buyers to identify where orders are stalled, and streamlining communication between buyers and sellers. It also automatically tracks and enforces SLAs, ensuring margins are protected, and delivery deadlines are met.

To learn how to streamline the process for ordering x-haul, download the white paper “Removing 5G Roadblocks: Overcoming transport ordering challenges".



Credit: John Denemark, Sr. VP and General Manager, Carrier Relations, Neustar 

This article was created in collaboration with the sponsoring company and our sales and marketing team. The editorial team does not contribute.