Saturday 23 February 2013

What does the industry need from Metrocell Backhaul solutions?

An article by Justin Paul:
The original small cells, femtocells for residential and enterprise customers, used standard broadband internet for their backhaul connections into the mobile network core. Metrocells, deployed by operators for widespread public use in streets and densely populated urban areas, typically don't have this option. This has led to a range of innovative new wireless products both from established and upcoming vendors.

The Industry has already made its views known

In June 2012 the Next Generation Mobile Network Alliance (NGNM), an organisation of leading mobile communications companies, published a white paper outlining the requirements for small cell backhaul. The paper, written jointly by contributors from EE, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei and others, provides an excellent overview of the topic.

"The raison d'etre of backhaul is to provide connectivity between the small cells and core nodes with the desired QoS level".

Using existing macrocell sites to consolidate backhaul for small cells

Most operators have pre-existing backhaul solutions that serve their macro cellular sites, even if in some cases that backhaul capacity is no longer adequate for the huge quantities of data required by smartphone users. These operators need to factor in the needs of their new small cells with the capabilities of their existing macro cells to ensure simple and cost-effective backhaul solutions.

In Dec 2012 EE revealed that they were in the process of upgrading every aggregation hub in their new LTE network from 1Gigabit/s to 10Gigabit/s as standard to cope with expected capacity demands.
There are also likely to be a few new "Small Cell Greenfield Operators" who will look to roll-out networks and provide backhaul with no existing legacy network, which presents a whole new set of challenges. These operators will start with a clean sheet and be able to use the most cost-effective solutions, but will suffer from the lack of a macrocellular base sites where backhaul can be aggregated.

Complete article: What does the industry need from Metrocell Backhaul solutions? | Metrocells | Small Cells:

We recently also held a Metrocells Masterclass at the IET in London where Justin Paul took us through the complete backhaul needs and options. The picture above is from his slide deck. The next one workshop is on the 21st of March in Cambridge. More details at:  

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