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Shorter site-to-site distances and higher bit rates are key trends in 5G. In light of this, the cost of using traditional leased lines as transport to every radio/antenna site in the RAN is expected to rise significantly. To cope with the large increase in required bit rate per site and achieve a cost-efficient rollout of 5G New Radio (NR), mobile operators must have a good understanding of the different RAN architecture and transport network alternatives that are available to them.
This Ericsson Technology Review article presents all the available options and explains why automation and tight integration between the RAN and the transport network will be critical to achieving cost-efficient deployments. In particular, it highlights the cost-saving benefits of using self-built transport based on dark fiber when deploying 5G NR in densely populated areas.