Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN)

The Birth of Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN)

The migration from 3G to 4G was a relatively minor evolution. Despite the simplicity of that change, it created a flurry of new opportunities. Although Long Term Evolution (LTE/4G) changed all our lives, it did not require a completely new network architecture from 3G. 

Conversely, the migration from 4G to 5G is not a simple evolution but a transformation.  To deliver the full capability and feature set of 5G, the infrastructure behind the radio towers must change.  Although 5G is extraordinary, 5G has not changed the laws of physics.  To achieve the extraordinary benefits of 5G—higher capacity, higher connection speed, lower latency—transmitters must be positioned much closer to end-users and subscribers.

With a shorter range and the need for more radio transmitters, integrating 5G technology can drive the cost of deployment to an unacceptable level.  Hence network architectures and deployment designs are radically changing.  

The disaggregation and virtualization of the Radio Access Network (RAN) enabled some centralization.  Specifically, it provided the cost savings needed to make 5G a more economically feasible deployment. In addition, the disaggregation of the radio equipment forced a higher level of connectivity performance between its disaggregated parts. New interface designs were also needed to meet this higher level of performance which drove the creation of the 5G open standards and the adoption of Time-Sensitive Networking or TSN.

TSN Makes Fully Compliant 5G Networks Possible

Time-sensitive networking (TSN) is a new and indispensable technology that enables 5G applications.  TSN is built on the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard and provides a deterministic guaranteed delivery environment with distinct traffic classes for business and mission-critical applications.

TSN is made up of four key pillars:

  • Network-Wide Time Synchronization
  • Guaranteed Packet Delivery 
  • Ultra-Low Latency                                  
  • Network Slicing

Time synchronization provides a mechanism for synchronized transmission between all devices connected to the network. A standard time reference enables real-time communication with rigid, non-negotiable time boundaries and results in a deterministic performance.  

Data is transmitted traffic using scheduling and traffic shaping to prioritize delivery. By assigning appropriate priorities, mission critical traffic flows smoothly and predictably. This predictability ensures that no packets are lost or delayed. 

Guaranteed packet delivery provides guaranteed end-to-end delivery for the 5G stringent fronthaul connectivity to 5G RAN and packet core components, both of which are critical for network operations. 

Each application has different latency requirements, including ultra-low latency (uRLLC) of less than one millisecond. The new Canoga TSN products must support all latency requirements to meet the unique 5G network needs, but TSN products must meet even tighter latency requirements for some networks. 

TSN also includes the concept of network slicing to support a virtual network architecture with highly granular network slices from 1G to 100G. Each network slice has latency and resiliency requirements for many traffic classes. In addition, TSN works network-wide to ensure smooth operation while providing deterministic traffic at optimal network loads. 

5G Release 16 enables three main applications: 

  • Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) 
  • Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC) 
  • Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency (uRLLC) 

With the new TSN standard in place, Canoga developed a solution from the ground up to meet and exceed the TSN requirements.