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APAC wireless backhaul to undergo makeover

Posted: 19 Jun 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Carrier Ethernet  LTE basestation  WiMAX  high-bandwidth 

IDC believes that in order to support high-speed wireless services, operators will need to build scalable all-IP backhaul which combines Carrier Ethernet and fibre distribution in the urban centres, as well as microwave backhaul and Long-Haul dense wavelength division multiplexing (LH DWDM).

Green IT will put additional pressure on radio access network (RAN) and backhaul designs to become more energy efficient which means that equipment vendors will need to balance computational power at the basestation versus that in the local exchanges and mobile switching centres. Basestations that have router functionality will be able to provide peer-to-peer communications within the network. The multitude of radio standards is also putting pressure on vendors to implement re-configurable software solutions in the basestation. If operators delay the revamp of their mobile core networks to an all-IP platform, they will be left behind. The reductions in OPEX will justify the effort during the current economic downturn.

The rapid emergence of converged mobile devices with 3.5G HSDPA and WiFi, dual-mode support and the imminent entry of 802.16e mobile WiMAX devices mean that operators are facing a situation where users will expect 1Mbps speed all the time, anywhere and everywhere. This is in stark contrast to the existing 2G/2.5G/3G networks of today, which have hotspot like coverage for high-speed wireless data services.

An all-IP infrastructure only exists in some of the next-generation fixed-line networks in APAC, some of the early mobile WiMAX networks, and in recently constructed greenfield 3G networks. In most cases in the APAC region, the 3G UMTS (WCDMA) radio basestations are connected via E1/T1 leased lines aggregated in groups of 1–8, in an effort to provide up to 15Mbps per cell site. HSPA or 3.5G, CDMA2000 EV-DO, and mobile WiMAX operate with a theoretical maximum of 10–30Mbps per sector depending on the amount of frequency allocated to the operator.

With LTE just around the corner, which could see peak capacity of over 100-150Mbps per cell site, operators who choose to deploy LTE in dense urban areas could be facing huge bandwidth requirements that will invariably put enormous stress on the existing backhaul and transport infrastructure. Femto LTE and HSPA access points can help alleviate backhaul congestion in markets where FTTX or xDSL is widely deployed but in the rest of the markets, the backhaul will need to be a combination of fibre and NGN microwave/Fixed WiMAX.

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