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Category Archives: Backhaul

Wireless Backhaul Networks: Delivering the Optimal Solution for Carriers

By Kamal Mokrani

As mobile operators work to meet the growing bandwidth demands while trying to keep their operational costs down, they are now taking a serious look at wireless solutions in various frequency bands as reliable alternatives.


An example of wireless backhauling equipment, the InfiLink model XG 1000 Xm/5X.1000.4×150.2×23 5-GHz point-to-point unit has a net throughput as fast at 1,000 Mbps, an integrated dual-polarized antenna with 23 dBi of gain and a beamwidth of 10 degrees by degrees.

As networks become densely packed with small cell base stations, all geared to cater to future 5G services and the millions of additional devices needed to be connected, the task of installing and configuring a backhaul infrastructure is becoming more complex and more time-consuming. Innovation is essential in the fast-moving and highly competitive market of telecommunications. Service providers of all types are not only facing the challenge of competing with low-cost virtual network operators (VNOs), but also coming under constant pressure to find innovative ways to reduce operational expenditures yet improve service quality and availability of broadband networks.

The operators must also take into consideration significantly higher bandwidth provisions for increasing numbers of customers, which ultimately requires technologies that deliver scalable capacity, long reach, low latency and ease of use. Independent research showed that 56 percent of all operators consider backhauling to be one of the greatest bottlenecks and challenges they will face in most future platforms. A large number of installed small cell base stations simply do not have either the luxury or possibility of a wired backhauling solution. To overcome these challenges, wireless vendors such as InfiNet offer a range of backhauling solutions to cater to the growing needs for bandwidth, coverage and mobility, all achieved reliably and cost-effectively.

Simplifying the Network

Backhauling solutions have a variety of definitions, yet the challenges invariably remain the same: They are required to transmit data between the end-users and the central network infrastructure, all achieved with the highest reliability and lowest latency possible. For mobile operators specifically, their main challenge, along with the harsh competition and declining average revenue per user (ARPU), is the vital need to reduce network costs while delivering robust, high-quality services. Backhauling traffic from high-capacity cell sites is one of their biggest challenges, just as it is for wireless vendors.

Regarding the physical design of the solution, operators are aware that the different types of small cell base stations will require various forms of backhaul infrastructure, mostly influenced by where they are deployed and the availability of legacy networks in their vicinity. Ultimately, this means the physical design needs to be different for each backhaul solution, affecting operational expenditure costs.

Coverage problems resulting from the location or harsh weather are also a challenge for operators. They require stable and reliable solutions that can guarantee smooth connectivity, with no adverse effect on service quality and coverage.

Bandwidth Consumption Growth

Recent figures show data-driven smartphones had been expected to grow from just over 50 percent of all devices in 2014 to almost 70 percent in 2018. As the number of users using smartphones rockets, so too do the bandwidth consumption and capacity demands placed on the network. This is coupled with bandwidth-hungry content being consumed for longer periods, creating the perfect storm for bandwidth consumption growth.

Any serious backhauling infrastructure should therefore be fully dimensioned to support the peak traffic times on the network while still being able to have enough room for growth to accommodate future growth and statistical variations. In wireless backhaul networks, the available sites and radio spectrum have a direct influence on the ultimate backhauling performance.

Operational expenditure can be lowered if in-built automation to the network is deployed, speeding up deployment and controlling costs. Backhauling contributes to a substantial share of the overall small cell cost, so operators will be trying to bring backhaul costs down as an absolute priority. Ultimately, operators need to simplify their networks and implement carrier-grade IP backhaul networks to guarantee higher throughput and reliability.

The Guarantees

Mobile operators work in a world of stiff competition, and this has created a vital need to reduce network costs while delivering robust, high-quality services.

Operators need to begin to change their mindsets and move toward installing solutions that are easily scalable and cost-effective. With 5G just around the corner, customers need solutions that can deliver high-capacity applications while supporting the current 4G and LTE standards to provide reliable, high-quality voice, video and data services. Solutions that can guarantee higher throughputs while not allowing coverage to dip are key for a bright future. These types of solutions can be found on the marketplace. They are cost-effective, they can provide capacity of up to 1 Gbps over long distances in both line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight conditions, and they can offer a wide selection of performance and features.

The benefits of using point-to-point and point-to-multipoint solutions include better coverage, which enables the provision of broadband wireless access services to previously unserved customers. This increases revenue opportunities for both operators and service providers. Reduced operation and installation costs are a further benefit that can be reaped with this type of solution, thanks to the faster and simpler installation procedures.

Ultimately, various solutions for small cell backhaul networks are being deployed that have the ability to provide a high throughput of around 10 Gbps with low packet loss and strong interference mitigation. Flexibility is key. With this feature, all end-user demands for increased bandwidth, coverage and mobility are met with ease, meaning that the new network infrastructure will be future-proofed to meet tomorrow’s growing requirements.

Looking to the Future

As mobile operators try to meet the growing bandwidth demands while trying to keep their operational costs down, they are now taking a serious look at wireless solutions in various frequency bands as reliable alternatives. By using solutions that are scalable, flexible and reliable, operators will find their backhauling challenges will become much less daunting, and success for the future will be imminent. Organizations must work with the environment in which they are based, rather than using outdated, inflexible and inoperable networking infrastructure. Backhaul planning is essential for appropriate small cell backhaul performance.


Kamal Mokrani is global vice president at InfiNet Wireless. Visit www.infinetwireless.com.

 

Can Wireless Backhaul Make a Comeback in 5G?

In a joint project, Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom have demonstrated a millimeter wave link with a data transmission rate of 40 Gbps at the Deutsche Telekom Service Center in Athens.

The test was a 4X increase compared to today’s 10 Gbps speeds using current commercial millimeter wave solutions. It proves the commercial viability of future wireless backhaul technology, according to Ericsson.

The test also focused on the stringent latency requirements in 5G network architecture to support low latency or ultra-low latency use cases. The round-trip latency performance of the link tested was less than 100 microseconds.

“A high-performance transport connection will be key to support high data throughput and enhanced customer experience in next-generation networks,” Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom, said. “While fiber is an important part of our portfolio, it is not the only option for backhaul. Together with our partners, we have demonstrated fiber-like performance is also possible with wireless backhauling/X-Haul solutions.”

The live trial was completed at the Deutsche Telekom Service Center in Athens over a hop distance of 1.4 kilometers in the millimeter wave (E-band) spectrum. Technical setup included the use of Ericsson’s latest mobile transport technology including Ericsson’s MINI-LINK 6352 microwave solution and Router 6000.

“Microwave continues to be a key technology for mobile transport by supporting the capacity and latency requirements of 4G and future 5G network,” Per Narvinger, head of Product Area Networks, Ericsson. “Our joint innovation project shows that higher capacity microwave backhaul will be an important enabler of high-quality mobile broadband services when 5G becomes a commercial reality.”

Wireless Backhaul Networks: Delivering the Optimal Solution for Carriers

By Kamal Mokrani

As mobile operators work to meet the growing bandwidth demands while trying to keep their operational costs down, they are now taking a serious look at wireless solutions in various frequency bands as reliable alternatives. 


An example of wireless backhauling equipment, the InfiLink model XG 1000 Xm/5X.1000.4×150.2×23 5-GHz point-to-point unit has a net throughput as fast at 1,000 Mbps, an integrated dual-polarized antenna with 23 dBi of gain and a beamwidth of 10 degrees by degrees.

As networks become densely packed with small cell base stations, all geared to cater to future 5G services and the millions of additional devices needed to be connected, the task of installing and configuring a backhaul infrastructure is becoming more complex and more time-consuming. Innovation is essential in the fast-moving and highly competitive market of telecommunications. Service providers of all types are not only facing the challenge of competing with low-cost virtual network operators (VNOs), but also coming under constant pressure to find innovative ways to reduce operational expenditures yet improve service quality and availability of broadband networks.

The operators must also take into consideration significantly higher bandwidth provisions for increasing numbers of customers, which ultimately requires technologies that deliver scalable capacity, long reach, low latency and ease of use. Independent research showed that 56 percent of all operators consider backhauling to be one of the greatest bottlenecks and challenges they will face in most future platforms. A large number of installed small cell base stations simply do not have either the luxury or possibility of a wired backhauling solution. To overcome these challenges, wireless vendors such as InfiNet offer a range of backhauling solutions to cater to the growing needs for bandwidth, coverage and mobility, all achieved reliably and cost-effectively.

Simplifying the Network

Backhauling solutions have a variety of definitions, yet the challenges invariably remain the same: They are required to transmit data between the end-users and the central network infrastructure, all achieved with the highest reliability and lowest latency possible. For mobile operators specifically, their main challenge, along with the harsh competition and declining average revenue per user (ARPU), is the vital need to reduce network costs while delivering robust, high-quality services. Backhauling traffic from high-capacity cell sites is one of their biggest challenges, just as it is for wireless vendors.

Regarding the physical design of the solution, operators are aware that the different types of small cell base stations will require various forms of backhaul infrastructure, mostly influenced by where they are deployed and the availability of legacy networks in their vicinity. Ultimately, this means the physical design needs to be different for each backhaul solution, affecting operational expenditure costs.

Coverage problems resulting from the location or harsh weather are also a challenge for operators. They require stable and reliable solutions that can guarantee smooth connectivity, with no adverse effect on service quality and coverage.

Bandwidth Consumption Growth

Recent figures show data-driven smartphones had been expected to grow from just over 50 percent of all devices in 2014 to almost 70 percent in 2018. As the number of users using smartphones rockets, so too do the bandwidth consumption and capacity demands placed on the network. This is coupled with bandwidth-hungry content being consumed for longer periods, creating the perfect storm for bandwidth consumption growth.

Any serious backhauling infrastructure should therefore be fully dimensioned to support the peak traffic times on the network while still being able to have enough room for growth to accommodate future growth and statistical variations. In wireless backhaul networks, the available sites and radio spectrum have a direct influence on the ultimate backhauling performance.
Operational expenditure can be lowered if in-built automation to the network is deployed, speeding up deployment and controlling costs. Backhauling contributes to a substantial share of the overall small cell cost, so operators will be trying to bring backhaul costs down as an absolute priority. Ultimately, operators need to simplify their networks and implement carrier-grade IP backhaul networks to guarantee higher throughput and reliability.

The Guarantees

Mobile operators work in a world of stiff competition, and this has created a vital need to reduce network costs while delivering robust, high-quality services.

Operators need to begin to change their mindsets and move toward installing solutions that are easily scalable and cost-effective. With 5G just around the corner, customers need solutions that can deliver high-capacity applications while supporting the current 4G and LTE standards to provide reliable, high-quality voice, video and data services. Solutions that can guarantee higher throughputs while not allowing coverage to dip are key for a bright future. These types of solutions can be found on the marketplace. They are cost-effective, they can provide capacity of up to 1 Gbps over long distances in both line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight conditions, and they can offer a wide selection of performance and features.

The benefits of using point-to-point and point-to-multipoint solutions include better coverage, which enables the provision of broadband wireless access services to previously unserved customers. This increases revenue opportunities for both operators and service providers. Reduced operation and installation costs are a further benefit that can be reaped with this type of solution, thanks to the faster and simpler installation procedures.

Ultimately, various solutions for small cell backhaul networks are being deployed that have the ability to provide a high throughput of around 10 Gbps with low packet loss and strong interference mitigation. Flexibility is key. With this feature, all end-user demands for increased bandwidth, coverage and mobility are met with ease, meaning that the new network infrastructure will be future-proofed to meet tomorrow’s growing requirements.

Looking to the Future

As mobile operators try to meet the growing bandwidth demands while trying to keep their operational costs down, they are now taking a serious look at wireless solutions in various frequency bands as reliable alternatives. By using solutions that are scalable, flexible and reliable, operators will find their backhauling challenges will become much less daunting, and success for the future will be imminent. Organizations must work with the environment in which they are based, rather than using outdated, inflexible and inoperable networking infrastructure. Backhaul planning is essential for appropriate small cell backhaul performance.


Kamal Mokrani is global vice president at InfiNet Wireless. Visit www.infinetwireless.com.

Wireless Carriers Backhaul Small Cells With Licensed mmWave

By Don Bishop, Exec. Editor, Assoc. Publisher, AGL Magazine

Cellcom, a wireless company with customers in Wisconsin and Michigan, uses Cambridge Broadband Networks’ (CBNL) 28-GHz VectaStar platform as a backhaul solution in its outdoor small cell strategy to increase capacity and coverage for its LTE service.  Cellcom completed an initial trial of the 28-GHz platform, according to Chief Technology Officer and Cofounder, John Naylon, Ph.D., and it now plans to use the technology to backhaul some of the company’s first LTE outdoor small cells as a densification strategy.

Naylon spoke with AGL eDigest about the company’s licensed point-to-multipoint microwave technology at Connectivity Expo (Connect (x), conducted by the Wireless Industry Association.

“By choosing CBNL’s leading millimeter wave technology, Cellcom is maximizing the benefits of spectrum that holds exceptional levels of capacity, as highlighted recently by the FCC, which opened it up to deliver 5G wireless communications,” Naylon said. “VectaStar innovatively reuses spectrum to offer efficient use of the 28-GHz band. For example, the VectaStar platform’s dynamic µ-TDMA scheduling can offer up to 4.4 Gbps of provisioned capacity per sector from just 100 megahertz of spectrum. The capacity of VectaStar, together with total cost of ownership savings of up to 50 per cent compared to licensed point-to-point, has provided Cellcom with a business case to unlock some real benefits from millimeter wave.”

The CBNL executive gave an example of how millimeter wave transforms services in a smart city. He said that the European Union (EU) funded the Metropolitan Telecommunication Network (MTN) in Rzeszów, a city with a population of 187,000 (including 95,000 students) and the largest economic, academic and cultural city in southeast Poland. In tandem with the European Commission’s network of broadband competence offices (BCOs) and CBNL, the city of Rzeszów is using CBNL’s point-to-multipoint technology to make transformation improvements to key socioeconomic hubs across the city. Naylon said it does so through advanced use of 26 GHz, a frequency assigned as a pioneer band for 5G by the EU.

“The network results speak for themselves,” Naylon said. “Over 500 Wi-Fi hot spots offer broadband to underserved homes and economic areas; 187 schools and city buildings have superfast broadband of up to 200 Mbps; and over 650 fixed and 400 pan-tilt-zoom closed-circuit television and automatic number plate recognition cameras monitor public safety and traffic.”

Naylon said that Rzeszów’s smart city demonstrates pioneering use of 26 GHz and showcases how the latest millimeter wave technology can provide a highly cost-effective route to ubiquitous urban connectivity. He said that by creating high levels of spectrum reuse and adopting virtualization techniques, the project has been able to deliver a level of connectivity that was simply not possible using legacy techniques.

CBNL offers a video for additional detail.

When it comes to wireless infrastructure, Naylon said the carriers’ networks are already under severe strain from the sheer volume of 4G traffic. As a result, managing the super-high-capacity demands of 5G will require a wide-scale network evolution. Therefore, expanding network strategies to secure an early foothold in the 5G fixed wireless market looks set to become a key area of growth for many carriers, addressing a clear market opportunity and securing the essential revenue needed to realize their wider 5G ambitions, he said.

“It’s commonly accepted that fixed wireless access, both the enterprise and home, is a highly compelling use case for millimeter wave,” Naylon said. “However, the spectrum also provides a transformational opportunity to scale backhaul to the multi-gigabit capacities needed for 5G. At the heart of this evolution will be high-band spectrum, specifically between 26 GHz and 39 GHz, and a new wave of wireless technology that enables carriers to serve a range of exciting new verticals from a common network.”

In Naylon’s view, millimeter-wave point-to-multipoint technology has already gained significant pre-5G fixed wireless market traction. He said it is seeing adoption uptake in the 28-GHz bands, with similar movement in the 31-GHz and 39-GHz bands by developing new point-to-multipoint solutions in the bands, driven by the fact it is faster to deploy and costs up to half as much for a high-capacity link as competing point-to-point technology.

“As carriers define their 5G strategies, the first logical step will be to deploy ubiquitous millimeter wave coverage and create a multipurpose network that can virtualize traffic streams over the same physical infrastructure to serve wide-ranging issues, such as internet of things and vertical applications,” Naylon said. “This offers carriers an immediate opportunity to densify existing backhaul networks, while gaining an early foothold in the pre-5G fixed wireless market.”

Is Your Public Safety Backhaul Network Up to Task?

By Fai Lam, from the April Issue of AGL Magazine

Converged Internet Protocol and Multiprotocol Label Switching backhaul helps government agencies increase operational efficiency, improve collaboration among jurisdictions and agencies, and augment city services. The platform provides for future network expansion and supports emerging applications.


With the growing sophistication and increased level of security threats, the need for better situational awareness and closer cross-agency collaborations has become ever more pressing. Accordingly, public safety agencies are evolving their mission-critical communications infrastructure toward the highly efficient, flexible capabilities of internet protocol (IP) to enhance first responder effectiveness and safety. The bedrock for this evolution is a new, converged backhaul network architecture grounded in Internet Protocol/Multiprotocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) atop packet microwave and optical transport infrastructure.

Figure 1. Public safety backhaul network evolution requirements.

The demands are high. Public safety agencies looking to evolve to IP/MPLS require a mission-critical communications network that meets a set of stringent requirements (see Figure 1). It must be reliable and resilient in order to ensure uninterrupted communications even in the face of severe storms, floods, terrorism and other types of unexpected emergencies. To provide effective response, enhanced situational awareness becomes essential. Consequently, the new network also needs to have flexible service convergence to adopt new applications, including fourth-generation wireless technology of Long Term Evolution (LTE) that can offer increased channel capacity and improved spectrum efficiency, and network scalability to accommodate growing video and data traffic. To protect communications investment, it also must be fully interoperable with existing land mobile radio systems and applications such as simulcast, and be ready to evolve as necessary.

Dependable Communications

Like its time-division multiplexing-based predecessor, an IP/MPLS-based backhaul network offers constant, reliable and secure communications to connect first responders with one another, the dispatch center and the data center, ensuring that all public safety personnel are connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Although legacy backhaul networks are typically based on a traditional access-aggregation-core ring architecture, the packet-based paradigm of IP-MPLS backhaul allows flexible deployment of interconnected rings. This multi-ring topology, coupled with dynamic IP/MPLS, can restore traffic at synchronous optical networking (SONET) speed using fast re-route capability when one node or link in the ring goes down. Moreover, during multi-fault scenarios, which are not uncommon during natural disasters, it can rapidly reestablish critical communications with a secondary label switched path with remaining network connectivity. Therefore, a multi-ring IP/MPLS network allows better availability and resiliency, with much less chance of one incident — a storm or other disaster — disrupting critical communications.  Combining SONET-speed restoration and multi-fault resiliency with other protection mechanisms — including pseudowire and control hardware redundancies, nonstop routing and services, deterministic QoS, microwave link adaptive modulation and 1+1 protection switching — critical traffic will be preserved even under inclement conditions.

Flexibility and Scalability

An integral element for enhancing situational awareness is broadband communications that give first responders and dispatch center personnel a 360-degree perspective on any event with high-definition video, drones and other rich data applications such as geographic information systems. A new Long Term Evoluton (LTE) high-speed wireless data radio system is central to this broadband infrastructure. In addition, public safety agencies can deploy advanced applications such as high-definition closed-circuit television and sensors to gather greater quantities of data for advanced analytics such as gunshot detection and facial recognition, allowing them to act more effectively.

The key for supporting all of these features is the convergence flexibility provided by IP/MPLS backhaul. The use of IP/MPLS virtual private network services can accommodate all public safety applications with complete segregation and security (encryption can be enabled with ease for sensitive applications) over the same network, resulting in improved network operational efficiency when compared with the paradigm of disparate networks. This paradigm is commonly known as network segmentation. Furthermore, the support of IP virtual private network and service-aware statefull firewall in the IP/MPLS platform also facilitates controlled, secure communications between different agencies for closer collaborations. Additionally, other government agencies and operations will be able to attain budget savings by using the spare capacity. With highly customizable classification policy, deterministic multiclass QoS in IP/MPLS treats all traffic with the appropriate priority and ensures no performance degradation for critical applications in a properly designed network.

Complementing the virtual private network and QoS capabilities is network scalability. As video and data traffic grow, the backhaul network capacity needs to be able to scale up. An IP/MPLS platform with integrated microwave awareness and wavelength-division multiplexing networking support, together with a unified network services platform, simplifies the process of deploying additional microwave channels or optical Ethernet links. The unified network services platform facilitates network and services management across IP/MPLS, optical and microwave domains, attaining optimal operational efficiencies and agility.

Investment Protection

As governments worldwide continue to face budget constraints, they need to invest prudently with a long-term horizon. Ultimately, IP/MPLS backhaul will offer public safety agencies of today the migration capability to gracefully bridge the past to the future with full interoperability with critical legacy applications in use today, full network scalability to 10 Gbps, and even 100 Gbps link coupled with wavelength-division multiplexing optics when necessary, and software-defined networking to prepare for future capabilities requirement such as insight-driven automation and optimization. Accordingly, public safety agencies can continue to use current life-critical applications such as land mobile radio system and simulcast without disruptions and can adopt new technologies with no constraints. This approach protects agencies’ overall communications investment and offers an evolvable foundation for more advanced (e.g., LTE) public safety communications capabilities.

Public safety is in the middle of momentous changes. The familiar land mobile radio in every police car, on every fire engine and in every ambulance will eventually give way to a new generation of ruggedized devices that look like smartphones and tablets. Critical data and video will play an expanding role, alongside critical voice, in first responders’ services. The backhaul network that ties everything together must work even harder and stretch beyond today’s capabilities. This is creating the need for a new approach to continue delivering life-critical communications, whether that be voice, video or data. With converged IP/MPLS backhaul, government agencies at all levels around the world are ready to strengthen public safety, increase operational efficiency, improve collaboration among jurisdictions and agencies at all levels, and augment city services — all while benefiting from an efficient, future-ready platform for future network expansion, ready to embrace emerging applications to address new communications needs.

To read more of the April AGL Magazine, click HERE


Fai Lam is marketing director for IP/optical networks at Nokia.