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Wireless & Mobile Landscape

A Primer on Fronthaul and Backhaul

This report provides a brief overview of two elements of the mobile operator’s network:

  • • Backhaul: The connection between the baseband units and the EPC.
  • • Fronthaul: The connection between remote radio heads/units (RRHs/RRUs) and baseband units.
  • From these basic definitions emerge great complexity, particularly when the variations on each type are described. This report is offered as a primer to those more detailed topics that iGR has covered or will cover in existing or future reports.


    Key Questions Answered

    • What is backhaul? What is fronthaul?
    • What are the common backhaul technologies?
    • What are small cells? What is the heterogeneous network?
    • What is a metrocell? What is a remote radio head? What is the key difference between the two?
    • What is CPRI?
    • What are some of the basic requirements for backhaul and fronthaul?
    • What companies provide fiber services?

    Who Should Read

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

    Table of Contents

    • Abstract
    • Executive Summary
    • Methodology
    • What is Fronthaul?
      • What is CPRI?
      • Providers of Fronthaul Services
    • What is Backhaul?
      • Small Cell Backhaul
      • Providers of Backhaul Services
    • Summary
    • Wired/Fiber Backhaul Vendor Profiles
      • Accedian Networks
      • Actelis Networks
      • ADTRAN
      • ADVA Optical Networking
      • Alcatel-Lucent
      • Brocade Networks
      • Calix
      • Canoga Perkins
      • Celtro Communication Ltd.
      • Ciena
      • Cisco
      • CommScope
      • Coriant
      • ECI Telecom
      • Ericsson
      • Fibrolan
      • Fujitsu
      • GENBAND
      • Huawei
      • Infinera
      • IPITEK
      • Juniper Networks
      • MRV Communications
      • NEC
      • Nokia Networks
      • Overture Networks
      • Positron Access Solutions
      • RAD Data
      • SOLiD
      • TE Connectivity
      • Telco Systems
      • Tellabs
      • Zhone Technologies
      • ZTE Corporation
    • Definitions
      • General
      • Device Types
      • Services
      • Network Technology
    • About iGR
      • Disclaimer

    List of Tables

    • Table 1: Specified Line Rates for CPRI

    List of Charts and figures

    • Figure 1: CPRI Interface
    • Figure 2: Remote Radio Head Configurations
    • Figure 3: Moving Toward a Cloud RAN Architecture
    • Figure 4: Simple View of a Mobile Operator’s Network
    • Figure 5: How Latency Adds Up
    • Figure 6: Real-World LTE Network Latencies, June 2014
    • Figure 7: Backhaul Technologies and Use Cases, Wired and Wireless
    • Figure 8: Mobile Network Architecture with Fronthaul and Backhaul

    For additional information on the Primer on Fronthaul and Backhaul market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.