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FROM BASIC CELL SITE TO INTEGRATED SERVICE DELIVERY HUB

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE ”LAYER 2” CONNECTED MOBILE CELL SITE

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Mobile cell sites are transitioning from simple base stations for voice and low-speed mobile data access to multi-functional hubs for delivery of new services, multimedia-rich content and broadband data access. Existing mobile backhaul solutions make this transition difficult as more capacity and smarter devices complicate cell site configurations, increase cost and add management overhead. This paper presents a new integrated cell site architecture that promises to transform the cell site and restructure the mobile backhaul cost equation— making the new service-delivery cell-site vision possible with fewer boxes and simplifying tomorrow’s mobile network.

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THE EXPANDING ROLE OF THE MOBILE NETWORK
In the past, mobile networks were built to deliver voice services with data connectivity services as a secondary consideration. Today’s mobile networks are being relied on to support mission-critical business objectives, which are far beyond the realm of basic mobile connectivity. New enterprise, government, videoconferencing, social media and mobile commerce services place growing demands on the network in terms of capacity, security and reliability. The mobile network infrastructure must be flexible enough to deliver a growing number of new services with ease and cost effectively. Moreover, capacity demands are driving new levels of network densification by leveraging small cell, Wi-Fi and Cloudbased RAN (C-RAN) architectures. While the densification “end game” is hard to pin down, what is certain is the mobile network needs to be flexible to support a considerable amount of future uncertainty. To meet subscriber coverage goals, and considering consumer demand for more mobile applications and that the mobile network operators (MNOs) desire to enrich their service offerings, lower costs and grow average revenue per user (ARPU), the cell site is undergoing a transformation.

Increase ARPU via New Services
Enterprise VPN, enterprise access, enterprise application acceleration

Improve Subscriber Retention

Reduce Network CAPEX and OPEX
Fewer Boxes Common IP network infrastructure

Performance Improved network performance for voice, video and data services (including network densification) Services Specialized services increase stickiness

Consumers Optimized social media access, M-commerce, Videoconferencing, Security Services Other Public Safety, Government

Less Complexity Simplified operations and network management

Security Security and privacy policies

Future Proof Architecture to minimize ongoing investments

Table 1: Mobile Operator Objectives

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THE MOBILE CELL SITE AS A SERVICE DELIVERY HUB
Operators need to enrich their offerings to attract and retain high value customers to offset the low ARPU for traditional consumer-level mobile users. To support new business initiatives, fast and flexible delivery of new services is necessary. This fact, combined with the pending network densification, means the cell site must evolve. The mobile cell site needs to evolve from simply housing a base station to supporting a network architecture that accelerates the delivery of new services to achieve business goals—the service delivery hub. IP is the only proven, scalable, futureproof technology upon which to meet these goals completely.

CELL SITE ROUTERS: THE REQUIRED INGREDIENT FOR CELL SITE TRANSFORMATION
Traditional Carrier Ethernet (i.e., Layer 2) advocates believe cell sites should be maintained at a Layer 2 (L2) implementation, citing a lower cost and simpler network infrastructure compared to Layer 3. IP (i.e., Layer 3) intelligence at the cell site gives the operator flexibility to support new scalable, high-quality services and the pending mobile network densification. Based on this, below are some reasons why routers at the cell site are poised to become the norm in future mobile network architectures.

NEW SERVICE DELIVERY
Many enterprise, government, videoconferencing and banking services can be delivered much more efficiently and at lower cost over a routed network. For example, Layer 3 VPN services often provide the most flexible solution for enterprise access and connectivity services—especially as service requirements expand. Many of these transport connections will terminate directly at the cell site. On-site routed infrastructure can provide optimum flexibility to support the full range of access services including IP VPN, L2 VPN, VPLS, MPLS VPN, etc. to ensure overall business objectives are met.

COMPLEX, NON-INTEGRATED

Transport (MW, OTN, etc)

Cell Site Router

Enterprise Services

2G, 3G, 4G Services

Small Cell

Streaming, Video Conf., Social Media, M-commerce

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LOWER COST
Layer 2 is often believed to be a lower CAPEX solution, but many times requires higher OPEX—especially as the network changes and grows and new services are offered. Traditionally, IP routers have commanded a higher price tag due to the higher cost of the silicon chips they required. However, newer technologies coupled with a highly software driven paradigm and the fact that cell sites do not need the same level of performance found in traditional routers makes routing at the cell site cost effective.

SECURITY
Layer 3 intelligence at the cell site provides many security benefits. Because mobile security requirements continue to evolve, routers offer optimum flexibility (e.g., having the ability to initiate and terminate IPSec) and the ability to support ever-changing security requirements. Ultimately, ensuring both control and bearer channels are carried in the most secure fashion possible.

HIGHER CAPACITY AND NETWORK SCALABILITY
IP routers at the cell site enable the network to better deal with capacity challenges. By having the intelligence to route around issues, routed intelligence at the cell site can have a great effect on capacity. When compared to flat Layer 2 networks, routers scale to vast numbers of nodes, thus, giving flexibility to grow the network seamlessly with a lower total cost of ownership.

NETWORK DENSIFICATION
The network edge is constantly evolving, resulting in today’s edge sites becoming aggregation nodes—where IP and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) are now commonplace. In addition, the network needs to be flexible to support the evolving network topology. Layer 3 intelligence makes it easier to change the network topology (e.g., add a site, mesh to rings). With a mesh of L2 connections, for example, operational complexities can result in huge costs and slow the pace of the network evolution— meaning delays in new service offerings or improving network performance.

X2 INTERFACE
The interface between eNodeBs in LTE architecture, X2 creates significant challenges for network architects. Carrying up to 10 percent of an eNodeB’s total traffic, the X2 has extremely low latency requirements and is a key connection to support mobile handoff. When eNodeBs are on different subnets, a router is required to provide X2 connectivity and avoid storms of broadcast traffic. A more scalable X2 infrastructure is achieved by supporting router functionality at the cell site. Cell site routers are an essential investment to support the expanding role of the mobile network.

MULTI-SERVICE CONNECTIVITY
New services, and network densification means the emergence of a multitude of devices at the cell site. Many of these devices are multi-service interfaces and many can even include legacy interfaces such as TDM, ATM or even FR/X25. Routers are the only proven solution to cost effectively converge multi-services interfaces onto a single low cost IP transport. Also, with the migration to LTE/ HSPA+, native IP is the default transport technology.

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MICROWAVE BECOMING MORE COMPLEX, LESS INTEGRATED
Despite all the benefits, the addition of the router adds a completely new level of complexity to the transport network of microwave connected cell sites. Routers can be deployed alongside a microwave indoor unit in a split-mount microwave scenario or connected directly to an ODU (outdoor unit) in an all-outdoor Ethernet scenario. In either case, routers are not well integrated into the microwave transport network, which can cause a host of challenges for operators. Five key challenges are listed below:
ROUTER ROUTER MICROWAVE INDOOR UNIT All Outdoor Ethernet Radio IF Connected ODU

NON-INTEGRATED RF
The above options all involve Ethernet connections from the router to the microwave device, either baseband unit or ODU. This is a departure from traditional microwave architectures—which have worked well for years and represent 95 percent of all microwave deployments today, where a microwave baseband unit is connected to the RF unit with an intermediate frequency connection over the COAX cable interface. With the router + Ethernet RF unit options, the modem is in the ODU on the tower, which requires a tower climb for any modem upgrades. The multitude of protection options (e.g., 1+1, N+0, SD, FD) gets extremely complex, and many configurations are not supported. The cabling is also a challenge. Existing COAX cable infrastructure cannot be reused, and many new cables are often required (RJ45 Ethernet has limited distances so optical cables need to be run in addition). Power over Ethernet (PoE) injectors are also generally required often necessitating purchase, deployment and ongoing maintenance of a separate box. In summary, the lack of RF integration on these router + Ethernet radio configurations spells trouble for mobile network operator (MNO) operations teams.

DUMB

OR

DUMBER

MANAGEMENT COMPLEXITY
Separate devices, with different management interfaces, create a multitude of operational challenges. End-to-end configuration, provisioning, fault and performance management can be difficult especially in IP MPLS configuration.

LACK OF DYNAMIC BANDWIDTH AWARENESS
The router does not have awareness into the microwave radio’s link bandwidth. Without this knowledge, traffic engineering and L2/L3 routing become very difficult. In addition, Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM), which results in dynamic reduction of link bandwidth, makes matters worse. Network performance is drastically affected in the above scenarios where routers are “flying blind” and not aware of the actual bandwidth available in the network.

LACK OF INTEGRATED SYNCHRONIZATION, SECURITY AND QOS.
Router + Ethernet ODU solutions lack an integrated security policy across all layers and boxes. They also lack automatic alignment of QoS policy across all layers leading to a complex operations effort to manage and maintain end-to-end QoS policy. Also, because of the lack of integration, clock source change on router results in a network wide microwave outage.

POOR FAILURE DETECTION AND RECOVERY
In the above scenarios, the router generally does not know what the microwave radio is doing in relation to failure recovery. Separate boxes require complex signaling/interworking that is not well coordinated. Also, there is a lack of integrated failure recovery across all layers including the IP/MPLS layer.

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INTRODUCING AVIAT NETWORKS’ CTR8500 MICROWAVE ROUTER
CTR8500 MICROWAVE ROUTER

Enterprise Services

2G, 3G, 4G Services

Small Cell

Streaming, Video Conf., Social Media, M-commerce

CTR8500 is the industry’s first purpose-built microwave router. A microwave router is a new concept that merges functionality of a microwave indoor unit and cell site router into a single integrated solution. In other words, CTR8500 is a full-featured router, purpose-built for micro­ wave. Unlike current generation microwave communica­ tions, which requires separate non-integrated routers, CTR8500 is an integrated solution reducing the number of devices, saving money. CTR8500’s “3-Level Integration” provides seamless interworking of microwave, routing and management domains, creating better performing microwave networks, simplifying your life. Best of all, CTR8500 is also a powerful Layer 2 microwave

solution that can be deployed today and is IP/MPLS-ready via simple software upgrade for optimum flexibility and investment protection, safeguarding your future. CTR8500 is the first solution that allows operators to sim­ plify cell sites, enhance ability to deliver new services and lower CAPEX/OPEX; saving money, simplifying lives, and safeguarding the future. To meet aggressive business objectives, the mobile network must evolve and today’s mobile cell sites must transform into multi-functional, flexible service delivery hubs built on 3-levels of intelligence. CTR8500 is essential functionality to enable this transformation.

3 LEVEL INTEGRATION

INHERENT MICROWAVE
Microwave behaves as a traditional split-mount system with baseband and RF units being one tightly connected platform with fewer power, cabling and modem upgrade complications.

INTUITIVE MANAGEMENT
One logically managed entity with a single interface. Automatic alignment of security, synchronization, and QoS policy for trouble free network operations.

INTERACTIVE ROUTING
A full-featured router, purpose built for microwave, incorporating latest in routing standards and features and integrated completely with lower layers.

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Aviat, Aviat Networks, and the Aviat logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Aviat Networks, Inc. © Aviat Networks, Inc. (2013) All Rights Reserved. Data subject to change without notice. _wp_CTR8500_17Oct13