2 AVIAT NETWORKS FEBRUARY 2011
SMALL CELL BACKHAUL
SMALL CELL BACKHAUL: CHALLENGES
Operators and equipment vendors should consider the following key factors when selecting anddesigning wireless backhaul solutions for small cells:
Lower cost solutions needed
. Smaller cells mean many more cell sites and thus more backhaullinks. To meet overall cost objectives, dramatically lower cost backhaul solutions are required.Macro-cell backhaul CAPEX is typically on the order 50 percent of total base station CAPEX. Alower ratio would be desired to ensure a cost-effective, acceptable solution.
Space-optimized solutions required
. Challenging lamppost and utility pole deployment locationsplace restrictions on the physical attributes of any backhaul solution. Unlike traditional cell sites,typical dish antennas will not be feasible for such deployments. In addition, because of spaceconstraints and operational costs, integrated backhaul and basestation hardware will be required.
Line-of-Sight (LOS) not possible
. Street level, metro area deployments mean line-of-sight tobackhaul hub locations is not always—in fact, rarely—possible. Directional dish antennas,combined with lack of LOS characteristics, mean that traditional point-to-point wireless backhaulwill be unsuitable for most small cell backhaul applications.
Interference must be carefully managed
. When backhauling multiple sites simultaneously, theclose proximity of cell sites creates possible interference issues for the backhaul system. Theseinterference issues do not exist with licensed point-to-point microwave backhaul, althoughcareful attention for spectrum re-use will be needed because many more frequency pairs will beneeded.
High capacity solutions required
. Driven by increasing demand for mobile data, backhaulrequirements for small cells are expected to approach macro cell capacity requirements (50-100Mbit/s per cell site) in next three years.
WIRELESS NLOS BACKHAUL FOR SMALL CELLS
To tackle the challenges posed by small cell backhaul, new non-line-of-sight (NLOS), point-to-multi-point wireless backhaul solutions are emerging. These solutions involve deploying a central “hub”node along with “end” nodes at the pico/micro cell sites. The end nodes would typically be all-outdoorunits deployed atop a pole alongside the pico-cell. The central hub would be located ideally at anexisting macro-cell tower or other site where high-speed backhaul is available.These wireless solutions are easily deployed and will work well in dense urban areas where LOSconditions are not always available.