Better Backhaul for Mobile

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1 WHITEPAPER Better Backhaul for Mobile This whitepaper is an extract from: Mobile Network Backhaul Challenges, Opportunities & Markets information you can do business with

2 Better Backhaul for Mobile 1. Introduction In the past, mobile traffic growth has been accommodated by simply enhancing backhaul capacity on a piecemeal basis, but this strategy will no longer work as it becomes less and less cost-effective. It is not just a question of (up)scaling the backhaul, it is now about intelligently matching the backhaul network, not just to the new capacity demands of mobile data, but to the new traffic characteristics of a modern 3G or 4G network dominated no longer by voice but by increasing smart broadband data applications. The full report focuses on the need for mobile backhaul technology and the application areas of different wired and wireless backhaul technologies. It provides technology comparisons, market opportunity and characteristics, an overview on mobile backhaul market profiles of leading vendors and an analysis of the different technologies. However, in this instance Juniper Research examines and analyses only the transport technologies involved and not the routing and switching technologies in the different layers. 2. The Mobile Backhaul Network The Mobile Backhaul Network is the aggregation and transmission network connecting the RAN (Radio Access Network) and the core network. A backhaul network is the middle layer of any mobile telecommunications network as shown in the figure below. Mobile backhaul links carries communication traffic between the BTS (Base Transceiver Station) and the BSC (Base Station Controller) and onto the mobile core network. The BSC is the aggregation point between the core network and the BTSs or radio base stations. The BTS can be simply referred to as the radio base station which provides the connectivity between the radio interface and the BSC, as shown in the following figure. Figure 1: Mobile Backhaul Network Page 1

3 3. Access Technologies Mobile backhaul can be based on a wireless technology or a wired technology. Backhaul links were initially based on wired technology, mainly copper. Wired backhaul solutions are normally leased line connections. These types of connections are usually priced depending on the number of lines that the operator leases, as well as the distance that the line covers. But the costs are significant when compared to wireless solutions. Fibre optics allows for faster and more reliable wired connections than copper wires. Table 1: Comparison of Mobile Backhaul Access Technologies Technology Advantages Disadvantages Copper Ethernet and E1/T1 on same copper line and existing large scale deployments Not able to meet current capacity requirements Fibre High speed and capacity and is scalable Deployment time is longer and is comparatively more expensive Microwave Satellite Easily deployable within short time frame/low cost and scalable Can reach remote and geographically inaccessible parts Environmental/Climatic disadvantages line of sight (LoS) required High operational costs Wireless backhaul technologies comprise microwave and satellite backhaul which provide an alternative to leased line wired backhaul. The table above summarises the advantages and disadvantages of the different technologies explained in the full report. The wireless backhaul market is gaining momentum, as operators look for a more cost effective and superior technology to backhaul their high-speed access networks. Currently microwave backhaul along with fibre and copper is being offered as the primary wireless backhaul technology, and satellite backhaul is only being used in limited areas due to its high costs. 4. Opportunities for MNOs & Vendors The mobile backhaul market is gaining momentum, as operators look for a more cost effective and superior technology to backhaul their high-speed access networks. The fear of backhaul being a bottleneck has led to operators considering major mobile backhaul upgrades (for example from wired copper network to fibre or microwave). As operators are looking to spend on their mobile backhaul network, vendors are given opportunities not just with equipment sale but also with providing network solutions, physical media and other backhaul services. There is a significant opportunity for vendors in the areas of microwave and fibre as most operators are looking to backhaul their networks using fibre and microwave for higher capacity. Vendors need to recognise that operators do not like to be boxed into a single vendor when choosing networking equipment as has been required in the past. In order to rapidly move into new technologies and markets, operators need to be able to trust that their equipment will interoperate between vendors. Vendors therefore need to proactively validate their equipment against defined industry standards. Page 2

4 Vendors can provide support to MNOs to determine the required mobile backhaul transport type such as copper, fibre, microwave and satellite in new markets. From our market research and forecast, different markets prefer different type of backhaul transport. Although the majority of the backhaul in North America is via copper, fibre will be the most preferred option. Microwave vendors will also have increased opportunity in this market as operators realise the microwave potential, over the next five years. In Europe, due to the availability of spectrum, microwave will account for the majority of the market. Juniper expects Africa and Middle East region to make use of VSAT backhaul over the next five years and beyond. 5. Total Mobile Backhaul Operational Costs Taking into consideration the different operational costs involved with copper, fibre, microwave and satellite, the total mobile backhaul operational costs are forecast to increase from $60 billion in 2011 to $257 billion by This means that over the next five years, operators need to spend almost $840 billion to address the bottleneck in their backhaul network. The assumed cost model includes the leasing charges including site and link leasing, installation and maintenance, spectrum and other capital costs. Figure 2: Total Mobile Backhaul Operational Costs ($bn) Split by Eight Key Regions 2016 Order the Full Report Mobile Network Backhaul: Challenges, Opportunities & Markets This whitepaper is taken from Juniper Research s report entitled Mobile Network Backhaul: Challenges, Opportunities & Markets This innovative first edition delivers the most detailed assessment of the prospects of mobile network backhaul development to date. Page 3

5 Mobile Backhaul is one of the most pressing issues facing mobile network operators today. Data demand is fast outstripping capacity and a proactive programme to upgrade networks is urgently required. Our new study delivers an industry benchmark assessment, providing detailed analysis of critical issues pertaining to mobile backhaul upgrade. Expert analysis of the opportunities and challenges for the various wired and wireless backhaul technologies is included as well as an evaluation of the challenges faced by MNO s. This detailed report provides a unique intelligence resource forecasting the market for mobile backhaul capacity, wherein capacity distribution is split by the different technologies - copper, fibre, microwave and satellite together with the anticipated operational costs involved for each. Quantitative market sizing is coupled with qualitative research exploring the evolution of mobile backhaul networks, exploring the growing demand for optimisation and providing expert analysis of the different backhaul technologies as well as an analysis of leading vendors. Key questions the report answers: How is mobile data demand affecting backhaul deployment and what does this mean for vendor development? What are the characteristics and market opportunities for different technologies that enable the delivery of mobile backhaul network? How will backhaul capacity evolve over the next five years in different regions of the world? Which wired and wireless backhaul technologies will be deployed in different regions over the next five years? What is the mobile backhaul capacity distribution split by different technologies including copper, fibre, microwave and satellite over the next five years? What are the mobile backhaul operational costs split by technology and region over the next five years? How will total data traffic over the cellular network grow over the next five years? Juniper Research Limited Juniper Research specialises in providing high quality analytical research reports and consultancy services to the telecoms industry. We have particular expertise in the mobile, wireless, broadband and IP-convergence sectors. Juniper is independent, unbiased, and able to draw from experienced senior managers with proven track records. Publication Details Publication date: September 2011 Author: Nitin Bhas For more information, please contact: Michele Ince, General Manager Juniper Research Limited, Church Cottage House, Church Square, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 7QW UK Tel: UK: +44 (0) / USA: (International answering service) Fax: +44(0) Further Executive Briefings and whitepapers can be downloaded at Page 4

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