14 January 2021

METRO-HAUL among top 10 most impactful 5G pilots

In September 2020, researchers from the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) successfully conducted the final demonstration of the METRO-HAUL project. The research project, with the CTTC as a partner, is now featured by the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (PPP) experts as one of the ten most impactful 5G pilots. In the newly published brochure “5G PPP Infrastructure – Trials and Pilots”, the 5G expert panel highlights outstanding projects that have played a crucial role in driving innovation in 5G technology. The choice were made based on several pre-defined criteria such as impact on 5G networks, technology- and market-readiness levels as well as societal benefit of each project.

The METRO-HAUL research project, which was funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 program and ran from 2017 to 2020, aims to design low-cost, energy-efficient, agile and programmable optical metro networks that are scalable to meet current and future 5G network requirements. That involves designing all-optical metro nodes, including compute and storage capabilities that effectively interface with both the 5G access network and elastic multi-Tbi/s core networks.

Fraunhofer HHI’s major role was to organize and lead one of the two final project demonstrations entitled “Network Slicing for Improving Public Safety.” The demo was carried out in Berlin last September together with the involved Metro-Haul partners under the coordination of Dr. Behnam Shariati who works at Fraunhofer HHI’s “Photonic Networks” department. It included the proof-of-concept as well as the demonstration of vertical services in the METRO-HAUL testbed. The demonstration showed the automated deployment of 5G network services across a latency-aware, semi-disaggregated, and virtualized metro optical network enabling a real-time video surveillance use-case, which requires high-bandwidth connectivity for streaming video footages, edge computing resources to run its video analytics functions, and very low-latency communication to allow real-time feedback to the cameras, upon any decision from the analytics engine.

Andrew Lord, Senior Manager Optical Research at British Telecom and project coordinator for METRO-HAUL, congratulated the entire team: “I am both thrilled and also astonished by the achievement of this proof-of-concept trial in Berlin, particularly because of the wide range of technologies brought together in a single demonstration. The work truly shows the potential for fully automated network orchestration of upcoming 5G applications.”

In addition to the award by the 5G PPP Panel, the project partners can look back on a substantial influence of their work. They have published over 200 research papers , provided more than ten contributions to standardization bodies, and made numerous contributions to open source projects (such as open source MANO). “While the crucial role of optical communication infrastructure for the realization of 5G networks has been largely unrecognized, projects like METRO-HAUL have proven that metro-access optical networking technologies are the foundation for such developments. Certainly, the innovative and far-reaching contributions of METRO-HAUL will serve us and our communities for many years to come,” said Dr. Behnam Shariati, research associate at Fraunhofer HHI.