Why Mobile Backhaul will be Critical for Data Intensive 4G Networks

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By Zia Askari | Editor | TelecomDrive.com in Barcelona, Spain

Today’s telecom industry is all about data networks and providing the best experience to their set of subscribers – this is where telecom operators have an issue while expanding their coverage and capacity.

In such a scenario where, operators look for strengthening their networks with next generation capabilities – it is increasingly getting important for them to cement their backhaul in order to achieve better network productivity gains.

Our Telecom Operator survey data indicates that mobile backhaul is of the highest concern to operators today.

As far as India is concerned – whether it is Airtel, Vodafone, Idea – or the green field operator RJIO – almost all the operators are embracing 4G – rolling 4G networks in various places of the country. With 4G subscribers looking for better data experience – operators need to incorporate efficient backhaul techniques in order to create that much needed experience differentiation in the market today.

Indoor Vs Outdoor

In their bid to deliver 4G promise to their customers – today there are many operators deploying in-home (femto-cell) and in building (pico-cell) solutions in order to strengthen indoor coverage and/or offload the outdoor (macro-cellular) network. Most importantly, these indoor deployments also present unique opportunity in front of the operators to market additional services to their enterprise customers.

Fiber Vs Wireless Backhaul

As we live in a scenario where there is very little fiber deployment – it becomes extremely difficult for operators to create efficient backhaul using fiber and hence there is huge opportunity towards utilizing wireless backhaul scenario.

As a matter of fact when we interacted with a number of operators in countries such as Singapore, Indonesia or even Middle East – all of them have preferred wireless backhaul as a way to strengthen their network capabilities. Hence, it is likely that wireless backhaul will play a key role in further 4G deployment scenarios. There are a number wireless backhaul solutions that have their own advantages and disadvantages.

These include:

  1. Millimeter-Wave unlicensed technologies – i.e. 60 GHz (V-band)
  2. Millimeter-Wave licensed technologies – i.e. 70/80 GHz (E-band)
  3. Licensed Common-Carrier bands (6 – 60 GHz)
  4. Unlicensed Microwave bands (i.e. 24 GHz ISM)

As we move towards year 2020 – we are likely to see more deployment of wireless backhaul solutions that will be driven largely by mobile operators’ need to enhance saturated networks in urban, high-traffic areas and improve the mobile broadband experience for their end customers.

The above trend is confirmed at the ongoing Mobile World Congress 2016 – as global operators such as Vodafone, Telenor, Orange etc are focusing a lot of their effort towards strengthening their backhaul strategies in order to create a seamless data delivery experience for their customers in various parts of the globe.

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