Improved Next-Generation Radio Access Networks Using a Centralized Opto-Electronic Oscillator
Keywords:optoelectronic oscillator, chromatic dispersion, front haul, phase noise, 5G radio access network, radio-over-fibre, wideband opto-electronic oscillator, integrated microwave photonics
Next-generation 5G and 6G radio access networks (RANs) require millimetre-wave (mm-W) oscillators to generate extremely low phase-noise signals for the frequency up-conversion and down-conversion in radio units (RUs). The opto-electronic oscillator (OEO) is an outstanding candidate for generating a high-purity mm-W signal in a centralized radio access network (C-RAN) where the distributed base-stations are dislocated from the digital units (DUs) and there are only RUs on the remote side. In this paper we propose placing an OEO in the central-office, while distributing its signal from there to multiple RU base-stations through the mobile front-haul network using a radio-over-fibre (RoF) transmission approach. This new approach was used in experiments that proved the smaller degradation of the phase noise compared to a degradation of 6 dB for the well-known frequency-doubling electrical oscillator in the RU. In addition, we present the signal-strength degradation due to fibre dispersion in mm-W signal distribution, as well as the challenges in long-term stability and multimode operation. We propose solutions to overcome these drawbacks and make our new approach useful for a centralized carrier signal distribution in next-generation RANs.
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