Transforming transport networks

Tighter integration between radio, transport networks, and cloud infrastructure is needed to deliver the required level of flexibility. This must be carried out with a backdrop of small-cell deployment, convergence of access and backhaul, as well as the migration of legacy equipment and technologies

Increasing flexibility, reducing complexity

Services such as mobile broadband and media distribution will continue to evolve in line with our growing global dependence on connectivity. Subsequently, networks will experience huge increases in traffic and will need to service an ever-expanding number of connected devices – both massive and mission-critical machine type communication. The latter sets stringent requirements for performance characteristics, including reliability and latency.

Key to network transport architecture is:

  • Service agility, programmability, enhanced visibility and cross-domain orchestration
  • Centralized control and management, includingconfiguration, path, topology and utilization
  • Specific applications for both local transport domain optimization and cross-domain orchestration support
  • Ubiquitous transport service to and from the datacenter, and also between datacenters

Network transport functions

  • The strong drive towards virtualization of network functions will have a clear impact on transport flexibility. Transport control contains analytics, policy, functions and specific northbound APIs for service orchestration and level agreement reporting
  • During a long transition time there will exist both SDN controlled equipment as well as legacy transport equipment, so the higher layers transport control will have to operate with a multitude of protocols
Network transport functions graphic

Transport supporting network slicing

Network slicing is a concept that also will put new requirements on the transport network. Specific features will be needed for the transport to become "slice-aware" from the overall service orchestration perspective. This will also help to cater for slice isolation and inter-slice prioritization requirements.

There is a need for Analytics, Policy, Control functions and specific Northbound APIs for service orchestration and reporting on service level agreement. Collection, presentation and correlation of various transport service level parameters on a per service basis is one of the key capabilities required. Also, necessary level of isolation and prioritization between the various network services needs to be maintained.

Transport deployment graphic

COM (control / management)

Slice manager
Flow manager
Connectivity manager
Network service manager


Slice policy manager
Flow policy manager


Data collector
Data analyzer
Data reporter
SLA Monitor

CF (Common Functions)

Inventory Manager
ML Topo
ML Path Computation Element

Adding new value

As the pillars of SDN, the ability to access network resources, functionality, and the management of services on-the-fly through programmatic APIs can reduce network complexity, as well as increase flexibility.

SDN can also provide service velocity as a means to integrate transport, radio, and cloud domains. This approach enables control to be centralized for service functions, and distributed for transport.

Discover more about transport networks:

Related architecture articles: Enabling intelligent transport in 5G networks Flexibility in 5G transport networks: the key to meeting the demand for connectivity Radio access and transport network interaction – a concept for improving QoE and resource utilization Related Ericsson portfolio: Transport More reading in Future network architecture document: Transport

Related Ericsson portfolio:

More reading in Future network architecture document: