The latest report from MRG examines how the development of small cells is providing solutions for last-mile backhaul. “Small Cells Provide New Opportunities in Last Mile Backhaul” addresses the changing nature of mobile networks and provides a comprehensive count of small cells (including femtocells) and last-mile backhaul.
MRG estimates there are as many as 11 backhaul mediums: five wireline technologies and six wireless technologies. Last-mile mediums include copper E1/T1 lines, Ethernet over copper, Ethernet over cable, fiber, and fiber using CRAN or distributed antennas. Wireless technologies include microwave, millimeter microwave, non-line-of-site radios, WiMAX, Wi-Fi and satellite.
The small-cell form factors forecasted include femtocells, enterprise femtocells, indoor picocells, outdoor metropolitan picocells and microcells. The information provided about each form factor includes new shipments, the retail value of each device, and the installed base. Last-mile backhaul for small-cell and macro base stations is presented in the report by access points shipped, last-mile CAPEX costs for mobile operators, installed base and total capacity. The report also features forecasts for 2011-2017, which are broken down by data for North America, Europe (Eastern and Western), Central and Latin America, Middle East and Africa, and the APAC.
In 2011, small cells only had about 3 percent of the capacity that macro base stations had. By 2017, with the prevalence of outdoor metropolitan picocells, small cells will have roughly 19 percent of the overall capacity of macro base stations.
Microwave radios are still the most popular last-mile backhaul medium, but by 2016, there will be more macro base stations connected by fiber than by microwave radios.