Fibre Delivery in Next Generation Wireless Networks


. Antenna systems and backhaul pose the major challenge. The stressing of current 3G+ capacities is merely a precursor to the deluge of data expected with 4G. to micro and pico cellular topologies that deliver superior RF performance and ensure the most effective use of resources. distributed architectures. Fibre-optic cable systems will be the key physical (PHY) transport medium in unifying these new.Fibre Delivery in Next Generation Wireless Networks Migration to 4G wireless calls for a fresh approach to network design. with a shift from macro cellular.

adds. or the number of concurrent users they can support. degraded. It is often confused with the maximum functional transfer rates of the system. the advent of higher-speed data rates and proliferation of portable devices has not only impacted the carrier’s ability to deliver traditional voice services. the physical elements of the network introduce performance degradation as a result of factors such as overheated active components. • Data rate – the production output of a communication system (and equivalent to the throughput metric described above). The net result has been a 200x increase in the bandwidth required to carry voice and data traffic. Essentially.500 users in fourth-generation (4G) networks. Figure 1: Micro and pico cells predominate in 4G Source: ADC KRONE Page 3 . Bandwidth should be viewed in the kinetic sense of active transfer. protocol handling. Thus. and dropped packets. Yet simply overlaying existing 2G infrastructure with next-generation BTS (base transceiver stations) has resulted in poor coverage. mainly because not all functional elements of the network can be controlled at any given time. current macro-cell topologies continue to suffer: • Patchy coverage. the number of subscribers has grown by 15x. to a 300m radius in 4G. Moreover.0 efficient factor within their network footprint. as well as dense. and employ a large number of macro-cell sites to meet outdoor coverage objectives. and adoption of DAS (distributed antenna systems) to provide coverage in larger buildings. changes. For example. Despite spectral efficiency gains of up to 20x being realised via current cellular infrastructures. However. it is then possible to calculate the speed of the actual production traffic. At the same time. driving down the effectiveness of traditional macro cell site coverage. damaged or poorly installed cables. Second-generation (2G) cellular networks were built to support narrow-band voice. their efficiencies (or inefficiencies). the coverage radius of the cell shrinks as it becomes more heavily loaded with traffic. there are three key network performance parameters to be addressed: • Bandwidth – the total maximum capacity for data transfer of the communications system. due to the fact that cells ‘breathe’ – i. While the control layer is simply the functional network management overlay allowing for remote monitoring. meaning that micro and pico cellular antenna arrays will predominate [see Figure 1]. maximum cell sizes in urban areas will shrink from an 8km radius in 1G architectures. • Capacity – the theoretical maximum for data transfer. deletions). will only support 1. troubleshooting and MACDs (moves. micro-cell under-lays to support increased traffic volumes. but limited either the data rates realised by subscribers. Factoring all of the elements of the network. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) must continuously aim to achieve a 1. which is defined by throughput.000 users in first-generation (1G) TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access)-based networks. and data usage per subscriber by 4x.e. a 10GB link will not have 100 per cent utilisation in a non-laboratory environment. high clutter • 1800MHz and higher frequencies not providing adequate service levels • Distance from tower degrades data rates • Poor MDU (multi dwelling unit) or residential coverage The introduction of third-generation (3G) systems based on UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) and ‘3G+’ HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) has seen deployment of ‘thin’ macro-cell overlays to existing 2G infrastructures. A single cell site that supported 150.Fibre Delivery in Next Generation Wireless Networks The issues faced by converged and wireless carriers struggling to support data-hungry portable devices have proved traditional network design to be inadequate. or packet loss derived from any upset to the physical layer.

and security. together with internet applications. such as airports. capacity. and corporate HQs. video. Further DAS innovations include RRH (remote radio head) and digital simulcast technology. This number is estimated to rise to 209 million by 2017. ensuring signal clarity. or other larger footprint local area • Pico cell – designed to provide in-building wireless coverage to a single floor or building • Femtocell – a ‘home gateway’ cellular antenna solution operating in licensed spectrum (and similar to a Wi-Fi wireless router) In addition. backhaul demarc (demarcation) cabinet/base station hotel. or at the BTS. MIMO also increases capacity by introducing additional spatial channels. The network edge (i. to the BTS (base transceiver station) controller. The result is increased capability and a collapsed control layer. convention centres. One major equipment vendor has realised data speeds of 173Mbps via a BTS using 20MHz channels combined with a 2x2 MIMO configuration. the number of LTE users will hit 38 million in 2013. Meanwhile. RRHs also support ‘base station hotels’ – whereby a base station is physically split into two parts: the RRH. the adoption of methods such as MIMO (multiple input. MTSO (mobile telephony switching office) and data centre. This configuration provides high isolation between cells. Although the new protocols employed by 4G technologies promote spectral efficiency. Essentially. power. Using this approach. Fibre everywhere Fibre-optic cable will be central to serving the multiple DAS configurations employed within the 4G environment: • Fibre to the cell site (backhaul) • Fibre in the cell site (demarcation) • Fibre to the antenna (‘fronthaul’) Fronthaul represents the need for antenna suppliers and carriers to be able to increase the bandwidth from the cell site to the RRH dynamically from a remote location. And with data ARPU (average revenue per user) projected to account for a growing proportion of service provider revenue. thus reducing the requirement for on-site manpower. and optimises network utilisation. Developed to address the issues of interference and isolation among cells. In the longer term. and a baseband radio server connected via a serial digital interface over fibre. This ‘smart network’ functionality will be particularly important to carriers operating in Europe. while the RRH can be mounted on a nearby rooftop. delivers the highest data rates. multiple output) within DAS can ensure proper uplink balance by enabling the required increased spectral efficiency for a given total transmit power. office complex/campus. light or electrical pole. with the necessary backhaul. with WiMAX remaining an emerging platform amongst a number of wireless access solutions. and network edge [see Figure 2]. the baseband radio servers are deployed in easy-to-access locations. RRHs supporting digital simulcast are typically mounted back-to-back on the same mast. Both pico cells and femtocells enable highly-targeted network expansion in line with market demand and carrier investment cycles.g.e. based on a fibre-optic cabling system traversing all the way from the wireless operations centre. together with a substantially smaller footprint when compared with the number of copper terminations required to satisfy the same bandwidth demand using TDM equipment. more bandwidth and capacity will be essential in meeting service level expectations and sustaining business growth. Page 4 . Pico cells will also be vital to 4G migration.Fibre Delivery in Next Generation Wireless Networks 4G and antenna array innovations Market forecasts indicate that demand for mobile voice. next-generation networks (NGNs) supporting 4G mobile services need to be fibre-ready from the outset – i. whereas femtocells offering single-band operation will suffice for smaller (residential) locations. and messaging services. which has emerged as the preferred 4G technology for cellular network operators. According to Coda Research. Larger venues. the Middle East and Africa. It is not just the network edge that will benefit from deployment of fibre-optic PHY. it should be considered that inbuilding DAS will often have to comply with local aesthetic and/or regulatory standards. limits cell overlap. significant increases in channel bandwidth to support data rates equivalent to fixed-line offerings require that the transmit power of the BTS be reduced to ensure proper uplink balance. and coverage inside of buildings. which are exploited by using space-time coding.e. a switch or a router – and backhaul traffic from the cell site using IPoDWDM (IP over dense wavelength-division multiplexing). migration to fibre in the backhaul makes it possible to terminate a large number of fibres into a location – e. these services will be delivered over LTE (Long Term Evolution). following a ramp-up in LTE production in 2012. which reduce bandwidth and coverage in dense areas and inside buildings. the access layer) in 4G network architectures will therefore necessitate use of a number of different types of DAS: • Cell sites – traditionally consisting of a BTS collocated with (or near) a tower-mounted antenna system • Micro cell – an outdoor DAS serving a residential neighbourhood. space. will continue to rise rapidly. They provide dedicated capacity and significantly reduce the impact of outdoor cellular traffic congestion. will need pico cells supporting multi-band or multioperator operation. where infrastructure sharing is common – either on the mast. However.

000 LTE base stations and related equipment. hundreds of sites can be managed from one place. Essentially.or cross-connect activities) and Ethernet connectivity • Fronthaul – hardened drop cable pre-connectorised with compatible connectivity to the radio head Smart NGNs will also deploy PHY connectivity incorporating optical passive signal monitoring. and allowing carriers to replace heavy and costly coaxial cable with lightweight and flexible fibre to the RRH. This cuts planning and engineering costs. In terms of CapEx. which allows carriers to reduce both capital (CapEx) and operational (OpEx) expenditures.e. where they can share power supplies and backhaul transport. and add capacity from existing sites. together with MDU (multiple dwelling unit) boxes.e. The latter are designed specifically to be rapidly deployed within the network. eliminating the need to build a 100. top-of-rack connectivity. with RRHs distributed at optimal locations in the surrounding area. As well as better data performance from the improved uplink. DAS) enables carriers to provide the highest data rates per population density. the move to a distributed network comprised of smaller cells (i. capacity is delivered to multiple antenna points). and incorporating the connectorised options typically employed within data centres: • MTSO – optical distribution frames. outdoor DAS delivers significant savings on site development. DAS enables carriers to re-use or consolidate existing BTS sites at base station hotels. and fit a base criteria of connector types and cable specification. Page 5 . carriers have just one facility to maintain. This investment can be optimised by adopting DAS. especially when considered on a per cell site 300-foot tower. with fibre management. and any network changes or updates can be made via a single location. which can otherwise be higher than the cost of the materials deployed. so that they can be deployed without specialised knowledge and skill sets. It also improves battery performance in end-user devices. drop cables and fibre distribution panels • De-marc (within the cell site) – fibre panels (for direct-. inter. allowing carriers to simulcast existing sectors (i. distribution and access – will therefore require PHY connectivity based on hardened solutions designed for rapid deployment. Close proximity minimises path loss. If a base station hotel is deployed. and fibre guide/raceway systems • Outside plant – hardened and connectorised fibre-optic cable. trunking and jumper fibres throughout. The base station hotel and digital simulcast Benefits of a distributed network By increasing proximity to the end user. Projected LTE BTS deployment costs are broken down in Figure 3. and thus the backhaul requirement.Fibre Delivery in Next Generation Wireless Networks Figure 2: Fibre unifies the wireless NGN All three network layers – core. since less power is required to establish and maintain a connection with the nearest BTS. Reports from vendors indicate that wireless carriers will spend some $3. while truck rolls to each antenna location are often eliminated. Source: ADC KRONE improves uplink performance and mitigates obstruction. and rapid solutions. It also means that multiple baseband radio servers can be deployed in a central location. Outdoor DAS offers an economical alternative to the traditional high-tower approach of the macro cell.3 billion in 2011 either buying or constructing more than 142. a DAS incorporating simulcast technology reduces the number of BTS. signal splitters. From an OpEx perspective.

com For local and international contact details. In addition. to achieve greater network capacity. enabling carriers to manage GTM (go to market) speeds while building a robust network. as well as the number of pole attachments Specifications published here are current as of the date of publication of this document. multi-band RRHs and digital transport reduces fibre strand needs. views its patent portfolio as an important corporate asset and vigorously enforces its patents. . and cooling needs within the hub. Because we are continuously improving our products. Implementing connectorised solutions throughout the NGN ensures a rapid. Inc. All Rights Reserved. future-proof and cost-efficient rollout. you may verify product specifications by contacting ADC. White Paper adckrone. This presents carriers with a dual challenge: • Accommodating new antenna designs that optimise data rates in the limited spectrum available • Augmenting backhaul infrastructure with a significant amount of wired connectivity Wireless NGNs must therefore be fibre ready from the outset if they are to grow efficiently – i. since the amplifiers are instead located outdoors. ADC reserves the right to change specifications without prior notice.e. please visit: adckrone. ubiquitous coverage and consistent QoS (quality of service). 201505BE 09/10 Original © 2010 ADC Telecommunications Inc. Figure 3: New LTE site deployment costs – percentage estimates Source: Heavy Reading Summary NGNs based on 4G wireless technologies such as LTE and WiMAX necessitate many more cell sites. both inbuilding and outdoors. ADC Telecommunications.DAS is the enabler of on-demand capacity. At any time. Products or features contained herein may be covered by one or more international patents. as opposed to using capacity to provide coverage.