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Small Cells, DAS & Het-Nets

Wireless Backhaul Opportunities and Issues for Small Cell Architectures

Small cells and heterogeneous networks are a hot topic in wireless backhaul because there is no single, clear solution to where these devices will be deployed or how they will be backhauled. It will vary by country, state and city – and probably even by area within a given city. Internationally, deployments will be at least as complex as they are in the U.S.

Moreover, carriers also have to provide high capacity, carrier grade reliability, peak performance, and sound network management capabilities in the small cell environment. A lot of testing has been done on small cells, both by carriers and OEMs, but so far there is a dearth of real-world experience.

The main advantages for wireless backhaul, as compared to fiber, are: lower cost, faster (and easier) deployment and sufficiently scalable throughput (depending on the use case and technology chosen).

When operators choose between wireless backhaul methods – LOS versus NLOS, microwave versus millimeter wave versus sub-6 GHz, network topology – it all comes down to the specific challenge they are trying to overcome. Every city is different; it is trite to say, and of course there are similarities and best practices across deployments, but the actual technology choice will come down to the specific situation.

This market study discusses the wireless backhaul technologies available, the benefits and drawbacks of each, the main market drivers for wireless backhaul to support small cells, and the North American forecast for wireless backhaul to support LTE metrocell deployments over the next five years.


Key Questions Answered

  • What is the anticipated growth of wireless backhaul in North America through 2018?
  • How do the major mobile operators view wireless backhaul?
  • What are the major concerns of the mobile operators with regard to wireless backhaul?
  • How can these concerns be addressed?
  • What is the role for wireless backhaul in small cell architectures?
  • How is wireless backhaul deployed?
  • What are the attractions and drawbacks of wireless backhaul for the mobile operators?
  • How do PTP, PMP, NLOS, millimeter wave and traditional microwave solutions differ?
  • How does wireless backhaul compare to fiber backhaul?

Who Should Read

  • Cellular carriers, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Mobile backhaul providers, including telcos and cable MSOs
  • Wireless backhaul vendors and solution providers
  • Mobile OEMs, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Wireless infrastructure vendors, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Financial and investment analysts.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
    • First choice is Fiber
    • Concerns and issues mentioned by operators
  • Methodology
  • Overview of Wireless Backhaul
    • The Best Laid Plans
    • Wireless Ethernet: The Quickest Solution
    • Typical Backhaul Topologies
    • Point to Point and Point to Multipoint
      • Point to Point (PTP)
      • Point to Multipoint (PMP)
  • Wireless Backhaul Solutions
    • Impact of LTE on Wireless Backhaul
    • Non Line-of-Sight (NLOS) vs. Line-of-Sight (LOS)
    • Licensed vs. Unlicensed Wireless
    • Millimeter Wave versus Microwave
  • The Case For and Against Wireless Backhaul
    • Strengths
    • Weaknesses
    • Opportunities
    • Wireless Backhaul Improvements
  • Mobile Operator View of Wireless Backhaul
    • First choice is Fiber
    • Impact of Small Cell Technologies
      • Concerns and issues mentioned by operators
    • Wireless Backhaul is part of the tool kit
  • North American Metrocell Wireless Backhaul Forecast
  • Mobile Backhaul Vendor Profiles
    • Airspan Networks
    • Athena Wireless
    • Aviat Networks
    • BLiNQ Networks
    • Bluwan
    • BridgeWave Communications
    • Cambium Networks
    • Cambridge Broadband Networks Limited (CBNL)
    • CCS
    • Ceragon Networks
    • DragonWave
    • E-Band Communications
    • EBlink
    • Ericsson
    • Exalt Communications
    • Fastback Networks
    • Huawei
    • Intracom Telecom
    • LightPointe Wireless
    • MAX4G
    • NEC
    • Proxim Wireless
    • RADWIN
    • Siklu
    • SkyFiber
    • Sub10 Systems
    • Taqua
    • Tarana Wireless
    • Vubiq
    • ZTE Corporation
  • Definitions
    • General
    • Device Types
    • Services
    • Network Technology
  • About iGR
    • Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table 1: North America LTE Metrocell Deployment Forecast, 2013-2018
  • Table 2: North American Metrocell Wireless Backhaul Deployment Forecast, 2013-2018

List of Charts

  • Figure A: North American Metrocell Wireless Backhaul Forecast, 2013 – 2018
  • Figure 1: Wireless as a Mobile Backhaul Solution
  • Figure 2: Typical Mobile Backhaul Deployment Configurations
  • Figure 3: Possible Small Cell Backhaul Topology, Dense Urban
  • Figure 4: PTP Microwave Configuration
  • Figure 5: Typical PMP Configuration
  • Figure 6: Millimeter Wave vs. Traditional Microwave
  • Figure 7: Backhaul Capabilities and Use Cases
  • Figure 8: North America LTE Metrocell Deployment Forecast, 2013-2018
  • Figure 9: North American Metrocell Wireless Backhaul Forecast by Type, 2013-2018
  • Figure 10: Percentage Mix of Metrocell Wireless Backhaul Systems, 2013-2018 (North America)
  • Figure 11: Airspan FlexNET link products
  • Figure 12: Airspan ViaNet Network

For additional information on the Wireless Backhaul Opportunities and Issues for Small Cell Architectures market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.