Rain partners with Huawei to build a 5G transport network in South Africa

Rain, a South Africa-based mobile broadband provider, has announced that it has partnered with Huawei to build a 5G transport network using Huawei’s optical cross-connect (OXC) and 200G solution, leveraging Huawei’s latest all-optical switching product, OXC (P32), to build a metro optical transport network with minimal footprint, high provisioning efficiency, simple O&M, and high scalability to address the medium- and long-term challenges brought by 5G and revolutionary services.

Rain is focused on bringing mobile broadband (MBB) networks to South Africa and becoming the first operator to deploy 5G networks in South Africa. In terms of 5G transport, Rain combines TCO with lifecycle considerations. It must not only consider network construction costs, but also consider the cost of equipment rooms, O&M, capacity expansion, and network evolution. The traditional ROADM mode requires a higher footprint, extra subracks (one for each new transmission direction), site visits, and manual fiber connection, resulting in low O&M efficiency. These factors underline Rain’s motivation to use Huawei’s OXC and 200G solution for the construction of their 5G transport network.

Rain applies OXC technology at core nodes. Huawei’s OXC uses highly reliable and low-insertion-loss optical backplane technologies to merge the independent boards originally found in ROADM sites, reducing footprint by 80%. The reduced footprint is even more significant when there are more transmission directions. The industry-leading liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) switching technology and 32-degree optical cross-connection grooming meet Rain’s long-term capacity expansion requirements. Only one OXC device is required per site, capacity can be expanded by adding boards instead of subracks, and the expansion efficiency is 80% higher. Furthermore, Huawei OXC simplifies optical-layer connections and achieves zero intra-site fiber connections at the optical layer. The built-in digital optical parameter detection function monitors fiber quality, wavelength performance, wavelength, and paths in real time, implementing digital O&M at the optical layer and greatly improving O&M efficiency.

At the electrical layer, comparing with 100G solution, Huawei’s 200G solution improves the fiber capacity and reduces the E2E per bit cost. This solution features high integration, uses less power, and delivers high performance. The entire network requires no regeneration boards, greatly reducing the per wavelength cost.

Rain said of the deal, “With Huawei’s E2E solution and new OXC+200G, our first 5G users can experience an ultra-high speed 5G broadband service at home. Rain will further strengthen its partnership with Huawei in 5G network innovation and practice to offer an exceptional service experience to users.

Richard Jin, President of Huawei’s Transmission and Access Network Product Line, said: “Huawei is happy to cooperate with Rain to build South Africa’s first 5G transport network. This is a milestone in the global use of our OXC+200G solution. This transport network can meet the requirements of the next decade, realize higher network O&M efficiency, and provide an unrivaled user experience. Huawei will continue its innovation and research to provide customers with sustainable and evolvable solutions while helping Rain achieve greater business success.”


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