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Forging New Tools for Intelligent Connectivity

Network Demand Continuing to Increase

Fixed and mobile data traffic is expected to grow to trillions of gigabytes per year by 2022, driven by the number of connected things using transport networks.  The volume and variety of demand on networks show no sign of slowing.

5G Requires 10X Increase in Transport Capacity

Advancements in the radio access network and the packet core network required for 5G must be mirrored in the transport network. 5G standards from ITU for IMT-2020 will require 20 Gbps downlink and 10Gbps uplink. Collinear’s solutions deliver these levels of ultra-high capacity today .

Transport Network Evolution is Now

The ability to add reliable, cost-effective capacity rapidly, wherever it is needed, is an ever-present need in most networks. Looking forward, the emergence of low latency and high priority applications at the operator and enterprise edge are key demand drivers for new connectivity capabilities.

Smart service providers and enterprise network owners are beginning to think about a more diverse transport network where a range of technologies work together in a harmonized way to enable capacity, availability, reliability and latency objectives without over- or under-provisioning.

Collinear Challenges the Status Quo

Collinear is enabling the transport evolution by developing new transmission and traffic handling capabilities including:

  • Creating a modular system of transport solutions, the CNX SystemTM, which includes Millimeter Wave (RF), Free-space Optics (FSO), and Hybrid (RF and FSO) products, with the capacity, reach, and reliability needed for the demands of any network
  • Using intelligence to manage traffic over hybrid multi-technology links for a wireless alternative to fiber that is more reliable than any single wireless transport medium
  • Providing transport with up to 20Gbps capacity that can be deployed in days, not months
  • Leveraging technologies from other industries to create new wireless transport alternatives for our customers, especially for those who do not have RF spectrum resources for deployment
  • Building intelligence into our transport solutions to enable diverse classes of service with distinctive traffic handling treatments
  • Providing a telecom edge computing platform which enables low latency, high priority services
  • Offering a smooth upgrade from existing microwave or multi-band links to Collinear’s multi-technology links, preserving microwave investment while dramatically increasing performance and improving reliability.

Wireless links historically utilized radio frequency (RF) technology, most commonly microwave radios, operating at data rates from a few tens of megabits per second (Mbps) to a few hundreds of Mbps. Now that these wireless links need to carry more data, new higher capacity solutions are sought by the market. Free Space Optics (FSO) and E-Band RF technology are both candidates to address this challenge. E-Band RF links provide up to 10Gbps capacity, courtesy of the larger amounts of spectrum, and thus wider channel allocations are possible at millimeter wave frequencies. Free Space Optics (FSO) solutions that transmit using light waves instead of radio waves, are also capable of very high capacity. In an FSO system, one or more optical channels can be used, each offering large amounts of spectrum and delivering 10Gbps or more.

Collinear’s LightCNXTM Free-space Optical (FSO) transport solution includes laser features adapted from the aerospace industry.  We have pioneered step-change improvements in free-space optics including:

  • The ability to focus the optical laser more accurately keep it on the receiver more predictably
  • A very narrow beam width to increase transmission capacity
  • Smaller form factor with an eye-safe beam, suitable for dense urban environments
  • Software-enabled pointing and tracking.  

Collinear’s HybridCNXTM link pairs the LightCNX FSO link with Collinear’s AirCNXTM millimeter wave radio frequency link to deliver more capacity, more reliably through intelligent link adaptation.  Both links in the HybridCNX system can deliver 10Gbps of capacity, or 20Gbps aggregate.  

The HybridCNX links can be used in either a 1+1 protection mode or a 1:1 protection mode. In the 1+1 protection mode, traffic is sent over both links simultaneously assuring 100% traffic delivery. The resulting peak hybrid data capacity is 10Gbps, which equals the maximum rate of each individual link. Meanwhile in 1:1 protection mode, up to 20Gbps of traffic sent in normal weather conditions, using the combined capacity of each constituent links to double the aggregate capacity of transmission path.

A More Intelligent Transport Network

The increasing diversity of network traffic for Industry 4.0, 5G, and IoT applications creates the need for intelligent and programmable transmission for operators. Collinear’s exclusive EdgeCNXTM platform and advanced traffic management software, LinkLogicTMprovide powerful tools for delivering low-latency and high-priority services.

The EdgeCNX intelligent switch uses Collinear’s LinkLogic software to orchestrate the traffic flow across both links in parallel. Whereas the functionality of a switch in other hybrid links is typically limited to non-stateful failover, from the higher capacity link to the lower capacity link, Collinear maximizes the use of all available bandwidth, at all times, by intelligent traffic steering across the two physically diverse links. 

The LinkLogic software supports multiple traffic treatments at a high degree of granularity while taking into account the condition of each channel.  LinkLogic applies the treatments to determine which technology to use in the HybridCNX (RF or FSO), whether duplication or retransmission is required, and provides a dedicated control plane between the near and far ends of the link to manage traffic flow.

By providing programmable and automated functionality for traffic steering, load balancing, QoS handling and link resiliency, the LinkLogic software enables the link to adapt the traffic handling to the changing (i.e. current) conditions of each link in real time.

This helps Collinear’s solutions achieve more efficient use of spectrum and provides programmable protection for high priority traffic.

Looking Forward

We are continuing to solve hard engineering challenges and creatively adapt technology to serve the needs of communications networks.  We are excited at the possibilities for our EdgeCNX platform to enable tighter integration of wired and wireless transport, predictively adapt capacity, and enable a new class of ultra-low latency services.

Collinear Networks, Inc. provides wireless fiber connectivity including free-space optical, millimeter wave, and hybrid links to service provider and enterprise networks around the globe.  As a pioneer in next generation edge and transport technology, Collinear is working to develop intelligent connectivity solutions for a more connected world.

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