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Is the Backhaul Really the Bottleneck for LTE?

Is the Backhaul Really the Bottleneck for LTE?

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Published by Aviat Networks
The popularity of smartphones and tablets, motivated by the launch of the iPhone (2007) and the iPad (2010) have created a dramatic increase in mobile data consumption. The need to provide higher throughputs at the base station level to serve this demand has concerned operators, equipment vendors and industry
watchers about a possible bottleneck in the backhaul network.

The basis for this concern is that microwave technology will not be able to provide sufficient capacity, and that
only fiber is able to meet the capacity needs of 4G/LTE networks. Aviat Networks’ studies, based upon our early involvement in some of the largest LTE network deployments, show that an average of 100 to 200 Mbps of backhaul capacity per LTE cell site is more than adequate, which is easily achievable with current microwave technologies.
The popularity of smartphones and tablets, motivated by the launch of the iPhone (2007) and the iPad (2010) have created a dramatic increase in mobile data consumption. The need to provide higher throughputs at the base station level to serve this demand has concerned operators, equipment vendors and industry
watchers about a possible bottleneck in the backhaul network.

The basis for this concern is that microwave technology will not be able to provide sufficient capacity, and that
only fiber is able to meet the capacity needs of 4G/LTE networks. Aviat Networks’ studies, based upon our early involvement in some of the largest LTE network deployments, show that an average of 100 to 200 Mbps of backhaul capacity per LTE cell site is more than adequate, which is easily achievable with current microwave technologies.

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Published by: Aviat Networks on Jun 20, 2012
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10/08/2013

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IS THE BACKHAUL REALLYTHE BOTTLENECK FOR LTE?
AvIAT NETwORKS
 
The popularity o smart phones and tablets, motivatedby the launch o the iPhone
TM
(2007) and the iPad
TM
 (2010) have created a dramatic increase in mobile dataconsumption [1]. The need to provide higher throughputsat the base station level to serve this demand hasconcerned operators, equipment vendors and industrywatchers about a possible bottleneck in the backhaulnetwork.The basis or this concern is that microwave technologywill not be able to provide sucient capacity, and thatonly ber is able to meet the capacity needs o 4G/LTEnetworks. This apprehension is being capitalized on bysome optical network providers who argue that berconnections are needed to provide gigabit levels at eachbase station. Although a gigabit connection in eachbase station is desirable, extremely high costs, slowdeployment and infexibility o ber optic networks preventthis rom being a viable option or operators who areCAPEX and OPEX constrained.Aviat Networks’ studies, based upon our early involvementin some o the largest LTE network deployments, showthat an average o 100 to 200 Mbps o backhaul capacityper LTE cell site is more than adequate [2], which is easilyachievable with current microwave technologies.At the short and medium term the spectrum situationis more consistent at LTE base station side, where theshortage o available spectrum, and the implementation omore spectrum ecient solutions will take considerableinvestment in time and capital [6]. This situation is drivingNorth American operators to threaten price increases andservice caps i more allocations are not provided by theFCC [3] [4].In Europe, where operators have been slower to deployLTE, and are in many cases in early trials, operators mustconront a ragmented requency band arrangement aswell as the lack o availability o sucient spectrum, tomake their business models work [5].Although LTE network operators are demanding morespectrum allocations (especially in North America),there are some industry commentators that argue thatthe claimed spectrum shortage is largely exaggerated[7]. These commentators argue that techniques areavailable to mitigate any potential shortage, such as theemployment o smarter antennas, the ofoad o mobiletrac to Wi-Fi, the use o small cells, and the deploymento new technologies such as agile radios, all o which canpotentially prevent any crisis [8].However, although these measures could provide relieto enable operators to keep up with increasing tracdemand, operators will need economic incentives andtime to study the easibility o these potential solutionsor eventual implementation. The mix o economic andtechnical aspects aced by operators and regulatorsmakes access to LTE spectrum an issue more complexthan the congestion on the backhaul spectrum side orurban environments.
BOOMING DEMAND DRIvESBOTTLENECK CONCERNSIS THERE A SPECTRUMSHORTAGE FOR LTE ACCESS?
3
AvIAT NETwORKS

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