Martyn Warwick from Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona, Spain, on the growth of wireless backhaul transmission traffic. As mobile operators ramp up 3G and begin to transition to 4G, Kissner says that microwave backhaul is well positioned to service data and voice communications traffic needs for the foreseeable future.
Aviat Networks at Mobile World Congress 2011
- February 22, 2011
- 4G, Aviat, Aviat Networks, backhaul, CTO, LTE, Microwave Radio, mobile, Mobile World Congress, MWC, Paul Kennard, trends, wireless
Aviat Networks SVP and CTO, Paul Kennard, shares technology trends and insights from Mobile World Congress 2011.
I must have counted nearly 30 vendors during the opening day at Mobile World Congress this year who are promoting some form of wireless backhaul solution. It seems like instead of consolidating the market it continues to expand and fragment like never before. Ten or 15 years ago I thought that the market could not support 20 vendors, but now things are hotter than ever.
There are the big guys (Ericsson, NSN, Huawei, Alcatel Lucent and NEC), the independent point-to-point (PTP) microwave providers like Ceragon (newly merged with Nera) and SIAE from Italy (part of the STM Group), to a myriad of small guys from all over the world. And then there are the other wanna-be backhaul solutions, like point-to-multipoint (PMP), free space optics (FSO), mesh, E-Band, etc.
There are also a slew of new products announced and on display (including two from Aviat Networks), including Ericsson, Ceragon, Trango, Comba and NEC. A lot of these new products are IP based and primarily all-outdoor, reflecting the ongoing trend in the industry for ‘zero footprint’, packet microwave systems for new 4G/LTE base station deployments.
With all of these players and products coming to market each year at Mobile World Congress it’s a must see event and I can’t wait for the next few days to unfold.
Director of Marketing, Aviat Networks
There is an old saying in some places with words to the effect that “the future is now.” We believe the future of mobile backhaul is microwave and that future is now. At the risk of stretching the point of a seeming paradox, let us explain. The focal point for much of Mobile World Congress 2011 will be on Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G cellular services.
Even with all the hype for LTE, its demand on the backhaul network will probably not exceed 200Mbps, and it will likely settle somewhere in the range of 150Mbps to 200Mbps for the typical LTE macro cell site. This figure is well within the throughput capabilities of modern IP/Ethernet microwave backhaul radios. We will be explaining more about this at our MWC courtyard pavilion #CY08 in the Fira de Barcelona during the week.
For a more detailed look at what Aviat Networks has planned for the week, let us elaborate. Aviat Network presenters will outline the company’s vision for the future of backhaul networks, focusing on the key challenges faced by mobile service providers around the world including:
1. 4G/LTE Backhaul—A Dose of Reality. The requirements for 4G/LTE backhaul capacity are being overhyped, leading to operators wasting potentially billions of dollars by running fiber to cell sites. Understand how microwave is exceeding the true backhaul capacity needs of 4G/LTE with high reliability—and much more cost effectively.
2. Simplifying Mobile Backhaul Evolution. The evolution of mobile network infrastructure to all-IP is potentially risky and complex, giving operators many confusing options. Learn how Aviat Networks is developing solutions that will help simplify and lower the cost of this evolution.
3. Small Cell Backhaul—Challenges and Opportunities. There is a growing consensus in the industry that operators will need to deploy a new “underlay” network of small, micro-base stations to provide the needed capacity and coverage for 4G. Find out how microwave is uniquely positioned to provide the backhaul for this new class of base stations.
In addition, you can see the latest Aviat Networks microwave solutions, which we will be introducing in person at MWC:
4. Aviat WTM 3000. A fully functional Carrier Ethernet transport node in a true zero-footprint package, the WTM 3000 includes for the first time advanced radio, modem and Ethernet networking functions all in a compact outdoor unit, unlike other “all-outdoor” packet radios that require an indoor unit or a separate switch/router to provide important networking advanced radio features.
5. Eclipse IDU GE3. An ultra-compact indoor unit (IDU) that combines the very latest Carrier Ethernet networking and advanced radio features for hybrid TDM/Ethernet or all-Ethernet/IP wireless transmission. The Eclipse IDU GE3 enables the deployment of cost-effective wireless tail-end cell-site connections and standalone point-to-point links.
6. Eclipse DAC GE3. A new plug-in interface module for the Eclipse Packet Node platform, theDAC GE3 provides the most advanced Carrier Ethernet switch subsystem available in microwave backhaul today. Featuring higher capacity and an impressive breadth of new capabilities, this third-generation design sets a new benchmark for resilient wireless access and aggregation networks.
For more information visit our booth at Mobile World Congress or our website Aviat Networks.
By now, you have seen the blogs, read the tweets and perhaps watched a YouTube video about “4G” mobile networks. In these postings, various claims and counterclaims have been made for what really defines 4G wireless. Further down in the industry dialogue, debate has been swirling among the ITU, IEEE 802 and various telecom analysts and pundits about what constitutes 4G. The technical acronyms LTE, WiMAX, HSPA+ and perhaps others have floated through the ether, creating more confusion than clarity.
All this happened when ITU let the genie out of the bottle in late 2010 and loosened the technical definition of what is truly 4G. The answer had been mobile technology capable of 100 Mbps+ downloads. However, ITU seems to have given mobile operators and others with vested interests enough leeway to define 4G as any mobile broadband technology that is faster than “3G,” which enjoyed a similar hype and uncertainty when it debuted in the early 2000s. And so began the public’s conditioning to equate more Gs with faster throughput.
Of course, all these Gs only refer to the generation of mobile technology, currently in its third generation in most places, with some limited availability of fourth generation technology. For the record, 4G technology in ITU’s strictest sense only refers to Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced and WiMAX 802.16m. Even current LTE and WiMAX 16e installations do not qualify. They are evolutionary steps on the road to 4G. And though HSPA+ is a fast download technology, it is still a third generation mobile telecom technology. Still, some HSPA+ carriers are achieving 21 Mbps downloads—faster than the 12 Mbps of early LTE carriers. With a software upgrade by the end of 2011, HSPA+ carriers can conceivably get up to 42 Mbps—but that is the theoretical maximum. Someday, LTE operators could hypothetically top out at 300 Mbps, but that day is not in the immediate future.
What is immediately apparent and most important is what 4G means to the end user. Most people cannot be bothered to dive into the technical details of mobile broadband technology, even if they are capable of grasping its intricacies. What they can grasp is faster mobile video loads with a minimum of latency and lack of jitter. What they can get is the mobile Internet displaying web pages with images in place and not red Xs or empty pictureholders. What is important is delivering content to the end user—wherever she is—faster than she expects, however many Gs it takes….
Let’s get past the hype.
We can get a good idea of what capacities 4G networks will need for backhaul we should look at what the technology is actually able to support.
The backhaul requirements for a single cell are fixed by a number of factors, regardless of how many users there are in that cell. Network congestion and frequency interference will limit the throughput achievable to rates well below the advertised peak rates.
For a typical three sector macro cell operating in the maximum 20MHz channel bandwidth, the total backhaul capacity needed is actually below 200 Mbit/s, even with the future introduction of LTE Advanced (Release 10).
For the current Release 8 of LTE now being deployed, and with smaller operating channels of 5 or 10 MHz, the actual backhaul capacity needs will be more often in the 10’s of Mbit/s, not the 100’s!
So if this is the case, why do you need fiber?? It’s pretty clear that the presumption that only fiber is suitable for 4G backhaul doesn’t make much sense! As shown by Figure 1, modern microwave transmission systems more than meet the capacity needs of 4G/LTE, with lots of room to spare.
Microwave supports more than enough backhaul capacity for 4G/LTE
Innovative new microwave technologies have been introduced to the market in the past few years that dramatically increase the throughput capacity, while the move to packet-based transport has also enabled a new range of Ethernet/IP-aware products that are able to intelligently utilize the available microwave backhaul spectrum better than ever before, with throughputs of 1 Gbit/s achievable with fiber-like reliability.
Apart from that, the average cost of microwave has continued to decrease over the years. The result is that microwave $/MBit is a fraction of what it was just 5 years ago.
Why Pay for Capacity That You Don’t Need?
Driven by this continued uncertainty, many operators could waste huge amounts of money by deploying fiber to cell-sites that can be served much more economically with proven microwave solutions.
So far from fiber being the only answer for operators deploying HSPA+ & LTE, microwave transport can and will meet the capacity needs for mobile backhaul for many years to come.
Director of Marketing, Aviat Networks
Here at Aviat Networks we are focused on everything that is wireless transmission. With so much happening in the wireless industry, we wanted to join in the conversation and share our experiences and insights on the trends, technology, and business.
If you are reading this inaugural blog post it is likely we have a lot in common. While the main purpose of this blog is to talk about wireless transmission, we will also cover topics such as network evolution, software usability, services, and more.
Our initial blog posts will cover topics leading up to Mobile World Congress 2011. Over the course of the next three weeks, we will offer timely coverage and video excerpts from the show to keep you up-to-speed on the latest and greatest.
We encourage you to be part of the conversation since just hearing from us would be like having a conversation with ourselves. New viewpoints and constructive feedback are always welcome and we looking forward to hearing from you!
The Aviat Networks Team