1 Use of MPLS in Mobile Backhaul Networks
2 Introduction Backhaul plays a vital role in mobile networks by acting as the link between Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment (Eg: radio basestation) and the mobile backbone network. This means that backhaul is able to transport mobile data from the end user to the internet (or similar network), mobile networks and traditional telephone networks. The rapidly evolving telecoms marketplace has meant that mobile operators are facing a significant spike in bandwidth demands in the backhaul due to- The proliferation of 3G-based data services and The emergence of high-speed air interface enhancements such as High Speed Packet Access (HSPA). At the same time, backhaul network operators are being required to significantly reduce operational costs in order to compensate for declining Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and to compete with a host of new competitors and technologies. Operators are also required to protect (or sufficiently emulate) core legacy services such as voice, which still account for a substantial share of revenue.
3 Addressing the bottleneck In this new situation backhaul networks with many cell sites have become the bottleneck offering insufficient capacity to support higher bandwidths and often expensive to upgrade. To address the problem operators are migrating from existing separate, legacy ATM and TDM backhauling networks to a more cost-effective, converged, MPLS-enabled, and multipurpose infrastructure. In addition to reducing operational costs, MPLS-based networks will also lay the foundations for the delivery of next generation mobile services, such as location-based services, mobile gaming and mobile TV, and for the use of future technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) and mobile WiMAX. Ultimately, this fully consolidated network will be able to handle many different types of traffic on a single cell site, enabling the operator to offer many different services to many different types of customer.
4 MPLS Mobile Backhaul Initiative MPLS Mobile Backhaul Initiative (MMBI) tackles these backhaul challenges. The initiative aims to leverage the benefits of MPLS technology in the backhaul by providing a framework for a single MPLS aggregation/backhaul network that is flexible, scalable and economical. This presentation outlines the market dynamics that are driving the need to deploy MPLS technology in Radio Access Network (RAN) backhaul and provides a brief overview of the MMBI.
5 Market Trends
6 Traffic Increasing but Revenues Shrinking The combination of rising traffic requirements coupled with declining revenues is a key motivation for operators migrating RANs to a converged, packed-based architecture MPLS has been globally deployed in these types of networks and has been an important element in creating an environment for the delivery of new data services As these packet-based networks grow in popularity, MPLS must now also be extended into to the backhaul
7 Total Cell Sites & Mean Subscribers per Cell Site ( )
8 Market Trends & Challenges Third-generation mobile networks have become a reality. The total number of 3G subscribers stood at around 614 Million at the end of 2007 and the number is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 34% in near future. Growing at a CAGR of over 27%, 3G market for mobile handsets will supersede 475 Million units (including HSDPA handsets) by The growing 3G market is expected to fuel demand for 3Gbased Mobile TV market with subscriber growth forecasted at a CAGR of nearly 48% by Introduction of femtocells is expected to result in mass adoption of 3G technology across the world. 3G Market Forecasts to 2010, Market and Research 2008
9 Issues: Traditional Backhaul-Expensive Mobile operators are generating revenues from a range of new next generation data services that are designed to generate revenues in addition to those from legacy voice services. However, these new 3G-based services require a substantial increase in bandwidth, which will in turn lead to greater mobile backhaul costs. It is estimated that backhaul can account for as much as 30% of a mobile operator s operating costs (Opex) (source: Yankee Group, 2005) If mobile operators were to expand the backhaul network to meet these new bandwidth requirements in the traditional manner, the move to 3G could represent a significant increase in required bandwidth and associated opex.
10 Issues cont. More sophisticated requirements Backhaul needs to be able to handle a range of new functionality, including- Quality of Service (QoS) and Resiliency management. These new elements will become increasingly important as mobile operators migrate towards packet-based backhaul networks. Mobile backhaul networks must support many different generations of technologies simultaneously. Must protect existing legacy technology investments for some years. But need a backhaul strategy that is future-proof and will be able to support a new generation of networks and access technologies such as LTE.
11 Issues cont. Access & Aggregation Diverse Traffic The access and aggregation networks are used for more than just mobile backhaul and it increasingly being used to carry traffic for more than one mobile operator. This requires methods of separating and securing multiple operator traffic while maintaining service level agreements (SLAs). We estimate that as many as three-quarters of 2G and 3G cell sites are co-located. The access and aggregation networks can be used to host multiple services as well as multiple operators. An ISP that has an IP/MPLS based network could provide services such as- IPTV broadband access and enterprise VPN as well as mobile backhaul services, generating further value from the network.
12 MMBI meets the needs Flexible * Scalable * Cost Effective
13 Backhaul Infrastructure Requirements The new backhaul infrastructure must therefore meet three main criteria; it must be- Flexible To support both legacy and IP services Scalable To support emerging future technologies Cost-effective To compensate for rising levels of backhaul traffic It also needs to be a converged network, which means the operator does not need to run two separate networks (leased lines and IP).
14 Overview MPLS Mobile Backhaul Initiative In 2008, the IP/MPLS Forum, now part of the Broadband Forum, launched it s MPLS Mobile Backhaul Initiative (MMBI). MMBI provides a framework for the use of MPLS technology to bring solutions to transport RAN backhaul traffic over access, aggregation and core networks. The specification provides possible deployment scenarios and recommendations on how to deploy MPLS in each of these scenarios. This is a valuable reference guide that allows vendors and operators to select the appropriate feature sets for their specific scenario.
15 What does MMBI address? A shared network infrastructure that is able to support (emulate) existing legacy services (2G, 2.5G) as well as new services based on 3G and beyond (Eg: HSPA, LTE). This will enable a migration path between existing legacy ATM and TDM backhaul networks to a more cost-effective, converged, MPLS-enabled, and multi-purpose network. The work is independent from the air interface technology wherever possible but allows for the possibility that some specific backhaul requirements related to the air interface may need to be considered. Areas covered: QoS considerations (Eg; to support specific service types), Resiliency capabilities, Clocking and synchronization, Operations and Maintenance (OAM), and Support for various Transport Network Layers (TNLs), LTE and mobile WiMAX.
16 Scope of MMBI Access Network Backhaul Transport & RAN Access Network 2 G 3 G 4 G RNC Aggregation Network Focus Area BSC for BBF backhaul a GW Transport network & Mobile Core Network Core Network 2G SGSN 3G PDSN/ SGSN 3G MSC 2G MSC PSN Internet GGSN PDN GW CSN WiMAX RAN
17 Business Benefits MMBI will directly impact mobile operators bottom line by- Simplifying operations, Reducing Operating Expenses (OPEX) Leveraging the cost benefits of backhaul technologies such as Ethernet. Enabling operators to support next generation services such as locationbased services (LBS), mobile IPTV and mobile gaming, and Providing flexibility to protect investments in new and emerging technologies. This flexibility works in two ways: it will protect radio equipment investment legacy 2G/3G and It will be able to be re-used again as mobile operators migrate to future technologies such as LTE and mobile WiMAX. MPLS is an established technology with proven track record for providing- QoS, traffic engineering (TE), legacy layer 1 and layer 2 emulation (via pseudowires) and resiliency features. These advantages can be leveraged for use in a wide variety of network architectures and applications such as Enterprise VPN, IPTV, mobile backhaul among others.
18 Why is MMBI uniquely qualified as the Backhaul solution? Amazing flexibility Supports both legacy mobile backhaul networks as well as future technologies such as LTE. For example, the same MPLS network infrastructure can be used to carry the legacy traffic pseudowires, may also be used to carry and provide QoS guarantees to next generation LTE traffic. Investments in MPLS technologies benefit the service provider by making it future proof and still applicable in the fast evolving mobile technology scenarios (eg: LTE and beyond). Deploys on any layer 2 technology capable of supporting MPLS labeled switching. Ideally suited to overcome the scalability limitations of traditional circuit based technologies such as ATM and TDM. MPLS permits support of these technologies using pseudowires to protect existing investments in legacy equipment. For future IP and Ethernet based interfaces, it is possible to aggregate traffic over single TE tunnels and provide differentiated services for this aggregate so that QoS requirements are met while at the same time providing further improvements in scalability. Provides economies of scale. Leverages the MPLS network to meet the requirements of not only the diverse set of mobile backhaul technologies but also to those of other applications, the MPLS network also. This provides significant reduction of capital and operational costs.
19 Architectural Scenarios Network Specification Transport Network Layers (TNLs) Speed (approximate) GSM/GPRS (2G/2.5G) TDM Kbps EDGE (2.5G) TDM Kbps Kbps UMTS /HSDPA/HSUPA (3G) R3, R99/R4 R99/R5, R6 ATM ATM ~384 Kbps (uplink) ~ 2 to 3.1 Mbps (downlink) IP CDMA 1x-RTT (2.5G) IS-2000 HDLC or TDM 144 Kbps) CDMA 1x EV-DO (3G) IS-856 IP ~ 1.8 Mbps (uplink), ~ 3.1 Mbps (downlink) Mobile WiMAX WiMAX Forum Network Access Architecture R1.1 IP 50 Mbps Long Term Evolution (4G) R7/R8 IP > 50 Mbps (uplink) > 100 Mbps (downlink
20 Architectural Overview Network architectures for RAN backhaul in the IP/MPLS Forum s MPLS Mobile Backhaul Initiative are defined for various Transport Network Layers (TNL) and mobile network generations. These scenarios are grouped as follows and comprise two basic categories: Legacy (TDM, ATM, HDLC) and Future (IP/Ethernet).
21 Legacy Options In the legacy environment, RAN equipment- Communicates via either TDM or ATM TNLs and Are connected with a T1/E1 interface, or with an Ethernet interface (Fast Ethernet) if TDM or ATM is encapsulated over Ethernet via IP or MPLS. The functionality necessary to transport legacy traffic over MPLS can be performed either at the edge node, the access node, the access gateway or directly in the RAN equipment. The HDLC layer features in CDMA 1x-RTT and covers RAN equipment communicating by means of HDLC-encoded bit streams.
22 IP/Ethernet Options IP/Ethernet scenarios include: In R5 3G, LTE and mobile WiMAX environments, the RAN equipment interfaces use the IP TNL either at the Iub inter-face (for 3G) or on R7/R8 for LTE or mobile WIMAX. Mobile traffic over IP TNL can be transported either via Ethernet pseudowires or regular IP/MPLS TE tunnels over MMBI s mobile backhaul network. IP termination can take place either at the edge node, the access node, the access gateway or directly at the RAN equipment. Various deployment scenarios arise depending on the location (and the extent) of MPLS technology in the mobile backhaul network and whether it comprises both the access and aggregation sections of the network or just the aggregation section.
23 RAN Equipment Synchronization RAN equipment needs to be fully synchronized to a common reference timing signal to ensure- sufficient frequency stability, radio framing accuracy and handoff control for RF channels. Thus the mobile backhaul network needs to support distribution of frequency from the Radio Network Controller (RNC) to the RAN equipment. Example: in the case where the air-interface is based on Time Division Duplexing (TDD), the base station clocks must be synchronized to ensure no overlap of their transmissions within the TDD frames. Ensuring synchronization allows for tighter accuracies and reduced guard bands thereby ensuring higher capacity.
24 Clocking and Sync in RAN BTS BSC BSC 1: Radio Framing Accuracy BTS Mobile Core Network(s) 2 : Handoff Control NodeB NodeB RNC 3 : Backhaul Transport Reliability Synchronization is vital across many elements in the mobile network In the Radio Access Network (RAN), the need is focused in three principal areas
25 How does MMBI Address Timing? The MMBI outlines the following methods for clock distribution over an IP/MPLS based backhaul network. In RAN equipment with IP TNL (including LTE) Packet based methods where the frequency reference is carried over packets (e.g., based on Network Time Protocol (NTP)) may be used to deliver frequency to address the frequency stability requirements of the radio equipment. For legacy TNLs, such as TDM and ATM Dedicated timing stream implemented using a pseudowire may be used to carry the reference timing signal from the RNCs to the RAN equipment both for backhaul transport reliability as well as frequency stability requirements of the radio equipment Other methods for distributing the reference timing signal to the RAN equipment include: Synchronous Ethernet or IEEE 1588 v2 PDH/SDH transmission mechanisms used in the mobile access networks. GPS is also widely used to support the strict synchronization requirements of TDD systems
26 OAM & Resiliency A key advantages of MPLS is that it provides a wide selection of flexible troubleshooting and OAM tools that enable the deployment of a truly carrier-grade backhaul network. These include- Fault detection methods to drive protection switching mechanisms such as MPLS Fast Reroute. Fault diagnosis, fault isolation (eg: LSP Ping and LSP traceroute) and performance monitoring. Loopback and connectivity check. Examples include VCCV for pseudowire-based MPLS backhaul solutions and BFD for IP based MPLS backhaul solutions. These OAM tools will remain applicable for future LTE mobile backhaul networks implemented as either IP based or Ethernet pseudowire based solutions. Note: For legacy TNLs and Ethernet pseudowire based solutions, the MMBI initiative leverages previous specifications by the IP/MPLS Forum that support interworking between native Layer1/Layer2 OAM and MPLS OAM.
27 Conclusion MPLS technology in backhaul is the solution to the bottleneck in today s mobile network. Offers benefits and cost efficiencies in both legacy mobile backhaul and for future environments based on new technologies such as LTE. Protects existing technology investments Ensures that the technology will remain sufficiently future proof and scalable. New services can be successfully rolled out, while mobile operators are able to leverage further cost benefits by using an MPLS-based backhaul network to deliver many non-backhaul services. MMBI provides guidelines on the architecture, scenarios and technology choices for IP/MPLS RAN backhaul within the various network environments (legacy, IP, converged). The MMBI framework is based on the mobile network definitions outlined by the industry standards organizations (3GPP, 3GPP2, WiMAX Forum etc.) The solution is based on MPLS specifications and protocols developed at the IETF. The MMBI initiative is also being coordinated with other mobile backhaul activities underway at industry organizations such as the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF).
28 For more information Check out