One distinctive feature of the next 5G systems is the presence of a dense/ultra-dense wireless access network with a large number of access points (or nodes) at short distances from each other. Dense/ultra-dense access networks allow for providing very high transmission capacity to terminals. However, the deployment of dense/ultra-dense networks is slowed down by the cost of the fiber-based infrastructure required to connect radio nodes to the central processing units and then to the core network. In this paper, we investigate the possibility for existing FttC access networks to provide fronthaul capabilities for dense/ultra-dense 5G wireless networks. The analysis is realistic in that it is carried out considering an actual access network scenario, i.e., the Italian FttC deployment. It is assumed that access nodes are connected to the Cabinets and to the corresponding distributors by a number of copper pairs. Different types of cities grouped in terms of population have been considered. Results focus on fronthaul transport capacity provided by the FttC network and have been expressed in terms of the available fronthaul bit rate per node and of the achievable coverage.
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