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This leads to a need to improve transmission media to accommodate the increased service demands. Operators in this case. leased lines and microwave equipment. which in turn poses a challenge in backhaul to support the multi-service transport requirement for a longer duration. By Madhav Bhatta Backhaul challenges and strategies T D M . ISSUE 50 . bear a high cost for capacity expansion in SDH networks.How to Operate Mobile backhaul strategies for emerging markets Mobile backhaul strategies for emerging markets Emerging markets have become an intense battleground for multinational mobile operators with their strategy to enlarge their global footprint. plus TDM + Ethernet services and IP in the future. This leads to a requirement to bear native TDM services. the increase in traffic volumes and the pressure of new service deployment demand an exponential growth of bandwidth on backhaul networks.b a s e d a r c h i t e c t u re h a s traditionally met the requirements of 2G operators. This article identifies the challenges to build these backhaul networks and recommends the potential solutions from a technical and business perspective. SDH multiplexers. These operators are facing enormous challenges to build the backhaul networks with their TCO efficient and quick time-to-market strategy. including PDH&SDH Microwave. The gradual migration from 2G to 3G will definitely lead to long term co-existence of the two networks. MTN and Zain are still investing heavily in the expansion of their 2G mobile networks. Mobile operators are facing considerable operational challenges as they seek to maintain their existing networks with multiple backhaul technologies. FT/ Orange. The evolution to 3G backhaul creates additional hurdles that lead 29 JUN 2009 . Several major operators such as Vodafone. Etisalat. Thus. and regional WDM technologies.
30 . and FE interfaces at cell sites offer seamless access of cell sites and network aggregation. However. the problem of maintenance as well as efficient media transfer could also arise. flexible networking. to reduce the cost in maintaining different teams with separate products. Operators can take a number of measures in terms of simplifying operations and reducing O&M costs. IMA E1. Nevertheless. there is no requirement for MUX and DDF in Hub Sites. On the RNC side. field engineering becomes another important aspect of operational challenges. This situation can be ameliorated by flexibly configuring E 1 . M S T P b o x e s a n d microwave indoor units (IDUs) support integrated microwave and optical networking features. However. • Support all backhaul scenarios to avoid stacking Given the long-term nature of 2G. The need to maintain multiple maintenance teams of engineers without a unified NMS will hamper quick fault detection and have adverse effects on the OPEX of the operator. and a built-in add-drop mechanism. • Accelerated troubleshooting Rapid troubleshooting is a key focus for major operators aiming to reduce the numbers of site-visits. a series of steps exist to address these problems. minimize network interruptions. This delays rectification of faults. WDM. Moreover. However. Hence. upgrade and optimization. in the event of adding more subscribers or even migrating to 3G. are absent. faster service provisioning. SDH microwave links and multiplexers stacking many PDH. SDH. This brings the need for regular capacity adjustment. a single piece of equipment can support STM-N. there will be a need to rebuild or introduce a new backhaul technology. and implement preventive maintenance. MSTP. This increases the CAPEX as well as operational difficulties. Native E1. The solution features a complete point-andclick function that defines traffic routes between BTSs/Node Bs and RNCs/BSCs. power consumption. in particular the cumulative costs associated with human resources. Hence. and no cabling is required.Huawei Communicate to high TCO in the short. microwave and even packet backhaul. and less equipment. field visits can be further reduced by using the hot patch technology JUN 2009 . It is extremely difficult to locate failures across multiple network management platforms that lack both E2E provisioning and unified performance monitoring mechanism as it makes the troubleshooting extremely complex and cause high OSS integration costs. • Fewer on-site visits Cellular networking is growing very fast. A single network management system (NMS) operates the whole network with less O&M demands. Existing TDM backhaul modes may meet immediate day-to-day requirements. ATM IMA can be plugged within the same box thus avoiding stacking of ATM switches. Alarm correlation DB uses aggregation rules to generate root and non-root alarms. I M A E 1 . SDH boxes in coexisting sites. requiring quick rollout of mobile base stations. leading to more boxes within the network to sustain the increased traffic. and FE/ GE interfaces to cover all the scenarios of RNC-side aggregation. alarm correlation techniques to determine faults over multiple network platforms such as microwave. The NMS covers up for all equipment such as SDH.and long-term. It would then become difficult to have an overview of the whole network. Microwave RF card is pluggable to either of these boxes. etc. thousands of alarms are generated daily by backhaul equipment. • Reduce complexity via unified solution Huawei intends to solve operators’ complexity arising out of stacking many boxes in their networks with flexible s o l u t i o n e q u i p p e d w i t h d i ve r s i f i e d interfaces in an integrated solution. The main challenges that increase the TCO of 2G operators on their existing backhaul networks are analyzed below. Fo r e x a m p l e . Each of these features needs to support card level expansion to enable faster deployment and realize the rapid TTM requirement of cellular networks. It avoids multi-segment provisioning t o re d u c e re p e a t e d a d d i t i o n a l l i n k configurations. Huawei had an opportunity to join with FT/Orange to analyze the TCO for emerging markets targeted by 30+ Orange affiliates. and HSPA co-existence.. the backhaul solution should be applicable in diversified scenarios to avoid stacking boxes. 3G. an alarm correlation system is necessary to clarify fault definitions throughout the network. In medium-level operators’ networks. The major findings revealed that the excessive OPEX was derived from managing different network platforms. ISSUE 50 Daily network operation challenges In 2007. In addition. Directly upgrading from an existing system incurs less CAPEX and is easier to deploy. software programmable radio (microwaves). These features ensure higher reliability. Some of the measures that could be looked into are: • One NMS for one backhaul One unified NMS for each backhaul greatly simplifies daily operations. Multi-segment configuration is the major factor that increases onsite engineering tasks and hinders failure location. Challenges on stacking many boxes Approximately 80% of existing backhaul networks comprise legacy PDH. a n d F E t h r o u g h c a rd level. To meet the growing demand of 3G services. and floorspace. Ethernet layer OAM also assists in monitoring E2E service connectivity and links status. ATM STM-N. The existing stack of SDH boxes can be easily replaced by a single highly integrated MSTP platform. and thus less manpower. and can suppress 90% of the nonroot alarms to quickly locate the root causes. simply deploying a single unified NMS is insufficient.
previously shouldered by engineers. We recommend the evolution strategy rather than revolution. In terms of emerging markets. Excelcom Indonesia. Huawei believes that the proposed solution will eventually bring a 30% to 40% reduction in TCO. Huawei’s recommended strategy is based on the unified solution that simultaneously supports TDM and packet to seamlessly transport 2G and 3G or HSPA data services. In the light of the various challenges in the emerging markets. to achieve seamless Ethernet access. and simplifies O&M. provide 3G/HSPA services. On the other hand. The solution also incorporates legacy TDM strengths–such as OAM.com Cost of reality & future challenges 2G mobile operators are confronted with the challenges of finding effective ways to evolve to 3G/ HSPA while lowering OPEX and CAPEX. but also pose operational problems for teams who are currently accustomed to legacy microwave and SDH networks. • Cut inventory and spare parts Unified hardware and software makes all service cards compatible with the products applied to core sites for access and aggregation. the massive amount of data involved with 3G services. antennas. TDM and Ethernet. suitable for different application scenarios. as well as enables the operator to recoup ROI on legacy investments. the latter approach requires specialized and highly skilled networking experts. ISSUE 50 . When configured for specified distances. This can be achieved by simply adding RF cards into the existing RTN equipment. Digi Malaysia. the flexible SFP pluggable optical module reduces the expenditure on spare parts. China Unicom Beijing. the MSTP-based solution is irrefutably cost-effective. From the perspective of strategic business models. to realize backhaul for the new RAN. The overlapping nature of legacy and nascent technologies raises questions for operators regarding when. China Mobile. Huawei has designed its solution to meet current requirements and seamlessly evolve into future pure packet platform architecture. Following Huawei’s technical and economic analysis and discussions with numerous operators regarding emerging markets. rushing to acquire a nascent technology that applies to a separate IP platform will not only incur a high and immediate CAPEX. This saves considerable CAPEX and OPEX. Wind Italy & Orascom Group. and RF couplers. At the cell site gateway. and ensure seamless future expansion capabilities. This means the smooth evolution from MSTP to MSTP+ solution is proposed instead of the need to build an overlay network. Editor: Joy Zhou zhouhj@huawei. MSTP+ and hybrid microwave can be smoothly evolved by replacing cards that enable rapid deployment and rollout of 3G networks. StarHub Singapore. Huawei has considered a multilayer TCO reduction approach to systematically reduce OPEX and CAPEX. For example. and the NMS to monitor remote optical power. TDM microwave network can be smoothly upgraded to hybrid microwave 31 JUN 2009 . how and which technology to apply. increasing investment in legacy ser vice provision with the hope of a delayed migration to all packet platforms in the future is broadly a short-term expedient. In this sense. Huawei’s TCO analysis report maintains that operators’ primary goal rests in achieving TCO reductions. FT/Orange. The optimum choice must involve minimum costs and reuse of existing network resources to bear legacy services. who are currently very few in the market.How to Operate Mobile backhaul strategies for emerging markets to fix bugs. ODUs. online software to remotely upgrade NEs. the various potential solutions lack clarity and pose great challenges for operators. and MTN plan to implement Huawei’s solution in their networks. and the inevitability of future All-IP migration. and so on–to maintain the operational experience of existing operation teams without requiring CCIE networking expertise. As a leader in E2E mobile backhaul solution. Huawei proposed its mobile IP RAN backhaul solution to respond to the current dominance of TDM traffic in 2G networks. The upgraded solutions can effectively utilize the same IDU and ODU and can access services such as IMA. E2E backhaul solution for emerging markets In the technical context of 2G/3G coexistence and the backdrop of continual network and service evolution. Predictably. Huawei is well-placed to confidently overcome the challenges faced by 2G operators in running existing networks. These features can be combined to minimize the TCO networkwide. performance monitoring. and evolving to 3G network. and the same principle applies to microwave IDUs. The point-and-click and E2E provisioning also eases the burden of site-by-site configuration.