Ericsson and Telefónica Germany / O2 are pioneering SDN for microwave transmission

Ericsson and Telefónica Germany / O2 have reached a milestone in the implementation and control of software defined networking (SDN) for microwave networks. Ericsson enabled its MINI-LINK microwave product portfolio in the O2 network, allowing the communication service provider (CSP) to implement a vendor-agnostic SDN interface in their nationwide O2 network.

Press release
Dec 20, 2021
MINI-LINK 5G radio tower

With the technological requirements for mobile networks of the future constantly increasing, this project is enabling Telefónica to base their automation use cases on a harmonized API for microwave devices: a door opener for an efficient implementation of SDN.

SDN is not only targeting the mobile core networks but also the radio access network with its 1000s of nodes. Ericsson has now enabled their entire installed base of more than 15.000 MINI-LINK microwave links in the Telefónica Germany / O2 network to follow recent evolution of the Open Network Foundation’s ONF TR-532 specification. Compatible with a wide range of microservices, this interface implements changes to its microwave links uniformly across all manufacturers and in near real time – creating a highly agile and cost-efficient transport networks for the 5G network of the future.

The new, unified interface also forms the optimal basis for future applications that can use artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically analyze and improve availability and network utilization throughout the entire microwave network.

Mallik Rao, Chief Technology & Information Officer at Telefónica Deutschland / o2 says: "Together with our partners like Ericsson we are pioneering SDN within the microwave domain. The technological requirements for the mobile network of the future are continuously increasing. Software-based approaches such as SDN are helping us to reduce the complexity of our network architectures and to drive our network expansion even faster and with higher quality through a greater degree of automation. For example, our technology team is already continuously developing new applications that can be made available across manufacturers within a matter of weeks.”

Telefónica Germany / O2 is now able to base their automation use cases on a harmonized API for microwave devices, which is the door opener for an efficient use of the implementation of Software Defined Networking (SDN) technology.

Stefan Koetz, Head of Customer Unit Western Europe, Ericsson, says: “This success is not only based on Ericsson’s technology and thought leadership in providing microwave technology that supports standardized and open interfaces that enables a maximum of automation for the ease of operations, but also on the longstanding partnership between Telefónica Germany and Ericsson Germany technical teams and their strong collaboration. We are glad to be able to partner with Telefónica to accelerate the automation journey of their network which will be essential for the coming 5G services.”

This achievement is the result of the long collaboration and a common journey of Telefónica Germany / O2 and Ericsson that was started in 2014, with the partnership helping to shape the telecommunications industry.



Telefónica Germany / O2 has successfully completed the integration of its approximately 30,000 microwave links to the new interface (NETCONF) via an open SDN controller (Open Daylight Controller). The latest interface standard of the Open Network Foundation (ONF TR-532) is used. Wireless transport networks using microwave transmission are a key component of many existing network deployments, acting as an alternative to fiber-optic services to transport large amounts of data over longer distances cost-effectively and efficiently over the air. This interface is compatible with a wide range of microwave systems, enabling the company to implement changes to its microwave links uniformly across all manufacturers and in near real time.