ISP

Internet Backbone

WiMAX: The Cure for Rural Broadband
September, 2009

Practice

5 billion of the $7.S. this situation is rapidly changing.5 billion of these funds have been allocated to the Agriculture department for rural grants. as compared with close to 60% in urban and suburban America .) means that broadband services need to be offered at a lower-price point in the rural areas in order to gain customer adoption This combination of high CAPEX/OPEX and low Average Revenue per User (ARPU) has traditionally made the rural broadband market less lucrative for service providers. Pew Internet and American Life Project Even in the United States. economic stimulus package to broadband grant programs to improve broadband penetration while alleviating impacts of the economic downturn. Introduction Broadband penetration in rural areas worldwide continues to be abysmally low. In this technical brief. Even in the United States. the impact of WiMAX to remedy these. $2.WiMAX: The Cure for Rural Broadband Executive Summary Broadband penetration in rural areas across the world has lagged far behind than that in urban areas due to multiple reasons which make providing coverage in these areas economically non-viable.2 billion of the U. and the topologies which can be adopted by service providers for economically viable deployments. as compared with close to 60% in urban and suburban America July 2008 2 . both in developed countries as well as in developing countries. The main reasons for this low penetration are: • As population density in rural areas is relatively low. However. equipment manufacturers and system integrators).2 billion • Capacity on the backhaul or the “middle mile” from the ISP to United States broadband the Internet backbone is often very limited and expensive as it stimulus plan is focused solely is provided over facilities designed for voice telephony or cable on increasing rural broadband television penetration • The difference in per capita income between rural areas and urban regions (30% in the U. we provide an overview of the issues surrounding rural broadband. only 38% of rural dwellers admit to having a broadband connection at home. with the efforts of various governmental agencies and the advent of new high speed mobile broadband technologies such as WiMAX. Various government (or aided) profit/non-profit making agencies in multiple countries are taking considerable pains to improve broadband penetration in rural areas. only 38% of rural dwellers admit to having a broadband connection at home. One significant step has been the allocation of $7. This has resulted in rural broadband growing at a faster rate than its urban counterpart in the past year. which specifically opens new doors for Tier-3/Tier-4 telecom operators (and by association. setting American Recovery and up and maintaining copper or fiber lines to provide broadband Reinvestment Act of 2009 service across the “last mile” incurs high costs for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) $2.S. to setup and profitably run rural networks.

where stimulus funds will be disbursed by September 2010. • Suitable Data Rate Support: WiMAX is a mature 3. operators need to offer value added services which can help increase subscriber ARPU and improve the economic viability of these networks. the CAPEX/ OPEX involved in deploying and maintaining fixed-line networks for rural deployments are very high. requirements for rural networks e. 3 . The advantages offered by WiMAX include: • Infrastructure Effectiveness: WiMAX offers a highly cost effective solution to address the rural broadband conundrum as physical infrastructure need not be rolled out to individual customer premises on the last mile. data rate requirements. ISPs need to support FCC definitions of broadband data rates viz. securing bandwidth for the “middle mile” from the ISP to the Internet backbone is a challenge. number of users to be supported. WiMAX: The Ideal Solution for Rural Broadband Deployments As operators around the world evaluate multiple technologies for rural broadband deployments. Martin “ISPs need to support FCC definitions of broadband data rates namely. Thus.. • Infrastructure-Related Concerns: As mentioned previously. both in terms of available bandwidth. Due to the low population density in these areas. 768 kbps for downlink and 200 kbps for uplink” June 2009 • Deployment Flexibility: Unlike urban networks which have similar requirements across the entire deployment area. FCC Chairman Kevin J. including: • Speed to Market: Speed to market is critical. WiMAX is emerging as a defacto standard. • Mobility and Value Added Services: To compensate for the high expenses and lower-priced basic services. and networks need to be deployed within 2 years. especially in the U. This significantly reduces the overall cost and the time-to-market in deploying the network. as well as expenses.g. differ from one area to another.WiMAX: The Cure for Rural Broadband Requirements and Challenges for Rural Broadband Deployments While rural broadband deployments can utilize the same technologies which are used in urban areas.9G wireless broadband technology and can easily support the FCCmandated broadband data rates and more. service requirements. they are not particularly well-suited given the specific requirements and challenges. costs of laying out copper or fiber infrastructure in the “last mile” increases due to the limited aggregation opportunities available.. 768 kbps for downlink and 200 kbps for uplink . Additionally. • Data Rate Requirements: Although the data rate requirements for rural broadband networks can be expected to be lower than in urban areas. etc. based on area-specific requirements. the broadband solution needs to be flexible enough to provide surgical deployment options.S.

This topology is suited for a network roll out where operators are merely looking to get the network operational. AAA R6 R6 R6 R6 R6 R6 BS BS BS BS BS BS BS BS BS County 1 BS County 2 BS County 1 BS County 2 4 .WiMAX: The Cure for Rural Broadband • Surgical Network Deployment Opportunities: WiMAX allows operators to surgically choose deployment options and focus on specific areas where there is strong demand. increases. based on the level of integration needed across individual networks. WiMAX-based Rural Broadband Deployments Rural Deployment Topology In keeping with the demands of rural geographies. WiMAX also allows operators to offer value-added services such as location-based services which are typically not available with fixed technologies. operators can choose to deploy WiMAX networks in different configurations. • Mobility and Value Added Services: Mobility is a key differentiator with WiMAX. smaller operators can deploy rural broadband networks with no spectrum-related concerns. Some deployment options include: • Fully Independent Networks: These are networks catering to either a town or a cluster of villages or a small county. AAA R6 R6 R4 R6 ASN. and also support roamed-in macro/peer network subscribers. Capacity expansions can be addressed easily by upgrades in the datacenter and do not require any physical infrastructure onsite. there is no sharing of information across the network cores from a NMS. • Partially Independent Networks: These networks are similar to the fully independent networks described above. • Spectrum Concerns: WiMAX spectrum has typically been less expensive worldwide as compared to 3G licenses. HA. with FCC opening up the 3. HA. each network is a fully independent entity. and hence. Additionally. HA. BSS or subscriber management perspective. However. enabling the network subscriber to roam out of the home network. AAA R6 R6 R4 R6 ASN. and can help improve the ARPU from rural areas. This is a natural evolution path for fully independent networks as the number of subscribers. HA. the individual networks share a common subscriber database. Independent Networks per Village Cluster Independent Networks per Village Cluster w/ Centralized Subscriber Database NMS/ OSS/ BSS Solution IP Network NMS/ OSS/ BSS Solution Centralized NMS/ OSS/ BSS Solution w/ Centralized Subscriber Database IP Network ASN. which facilitates mobility and roaming across the different networks. or the need to support mobility. In this scenario. Support for mobility or realizing economies of scale from centralizing the core network are not major considerations. OSS. AAA ASN.65 Ghz range for WiMAX.

Policing and Policy Enforcement R6 over GbE Access Concentrator. traffic Shaping. Intranet Web servers. Aggregator. number of failure points. MPLS. This topology extends centralization of core network functionality beyond subscriber database integration. • Deployment Topology: The operator needs to decide which network topology to use. VLAN. NMS. 5 . R6 Internet. Cluster of villages/ towns Implementation Considerations for WiMAX Rural Broadband Deployments As operators look to deploy WiMAX-based solutions to service the rural broadband market. R4 Interface for handover. Public Data Network 2000-3000 subscriber per PoP Geographically distant areas.g. and issue resolution are addressed effectively. Optimization of OPEX needs to be ensured by the simplicity of the network in terms of the number of nodes deployed. VOD server. to functions such as data traffic.T3 to Gigabit Ethernet (Gbe) (optional) Locally hosted Application Server. etc. This core provides a rural aggregation solution catering to multiple counties or a single large state. MIS and Applications server. with limited need for additional investment. VoIP Server. it is important that the chosen WiMAX solution offer a well-defined evolution path from a de-centralized architecture to a centralized one. Policy and Active Directory server etc. and manageability by single NMS. operators need to ensure that end user expectations of services offered.WiMAX: The Cure for Rural Broadband • Centralized Core Network: The centralized core network is the ideal topology for an operator with a large deployment of individual rural networks. R3 interface for roaming. It provides operators an effective platform to launch value-added services and move beyond acting as a data pipe for Internet traffic. However. Internet traffic Network Management System Border Gateway and Internet Gateway Router WING WING Routed traffic for internet Edge Router with QoS. based on a careful evaluation of the market where the network is expected to be deployed. OSS. L2 Switch. • Service Expectations: Though rural deployments have less stringent requirements in terms of throughput and latency. it is important that the chosen platform provides the necessary framework and tools to launch such applications effectively. operators need to consider deployments which support a “pay as you grow” model and allow them to adjust their network investments based on service uptake. Depending on their specific strategies and markets. • CAPEX and OPEX: From a CAPEX perspective. e. • Need for Innovative Applications: While WiMAX is an ideal technology to support innovative applications which can improve ARPU from rural subscribers. there are a few important implementation-related considerations which can significantly impact the success of the offered services. mobility. operators can either choose to start with independent deployments or with the complete centralized core network deployments.

Aricent’s WING product is an ideal low footprint solution for rural markets.2 specification and is designed for high interoperability with the multi-vendor mobile WiMAX Access Network and Core Network Nodes. cost-efficient. which include: • WiMAX WING Support and Customization Services • WiMAX Design and Development Services • WiMAX OSS and BSS Solutions and Services • WiMAX Planning and Installation Services Key Considerations in Choosing a Strategic WiMAX Partner • Breadth of Offerings (Products and Services) • Proven Success of WiMAX Offerings • Partnerships and Interoperability Credentials • Deep Industry Knowledge • Financial Stability • Best-in-Class Support 6 . with a wide offering of WiMAX services. Its flexible licensing scheme allows box licensing based on number of subscribers. and experience to support rapid. WiMAX Integrated Gateway (WING). with low CAPEX and OPEX requirements and supporting 100-20000 simultaneous attached subscribers. and high quality product development. network design and implementation projects. all QoS classes and both IP and Ethernet Convergence sublayer. IP Mobility. designed to work in tandem with the existing Macro/Peer WiMAX networks. knowledge. Handoff. WiMAX Services and Support Aricent has the resources. designed for equipment vendors looking to provide WiMAX-based rural solutions in a short time-frame using pre-packaged and pre-optimized software. WING consists of an ASN-Gateway integrated with an AAA server and HA server on the same physical node. It is a highly flexible solution. WING is compliant to the WiMAX Forum® NWG R1 rev1. Aricent can ensure the success of WiMAX solutions deployment. Base Stations or data throughput. and provide secure service to both local and roamed-in subscribers. Offline Accounting. Billing System Intranet WiMAX Integrated Gateway (WING) BS Internet Incoming Roamers External CSN Outgoing Roamers External ASN Aricent’s WING comes with an array of WiMAX features ideal for rural deployments including User Authentication (EAP-TTLS).WiMAX: The Cure for Rural Broadband Aricent Solutions for Rural Broadband Networks Aricent offers a WiMAX network-in-a-box software solution. At its heart. The product executes persistent storage of subscriber billing and also provides an intuitive interface for subscriber and node monitoring/management. Idle Mode/Paging.

and turnkey product lifecycle and customization services. 3G. With comprehensive offerings in both wire-line and wireless technologies spanning GSM/GPRS. and future viability. with its technology superiority and deployment friendliness. 7 . Aricent is a market leader in the communications software industry. from basic building blocks like protocol stacks. and with initiatives from various governments. Aricent offers a variety of components. Aricent solves the most complex. WiMAX. WiMAX. Aricent today leads the communication software space and has been a pioneer in providing components for the networks of the future. Conclusion Rural broadband penetration has grown at an unprecedented rate in the last few years. this growth rate can only be expected to increase. Aricent is ideally positioned to partner with equipment manufacturers in providing high quality and cost-effective rural broadband solutions. A culture of innovation and the extensive experience of our employees help us deliver a full spectrum of exciting service offerings throughout the entire communications business lifecycle. high-impact software problems being faced by communications companies today. and provide economically viable solutions. deep domain expertise in WiMAX technology. improve time-to-revenue and maximize efficiency. commercial success. LTE. device manufacturers and service providers to introduce new experiences. VoIP and IMS. From strategy to implementation. With proven white label WiMAX product offerings. is the ideal technology to serve the needs of rural broadband markets.WiMAX: The Cure for Rural Broadband The Aricent Advantage It is critical for equipment manufacturers and system integrators to choose the right partner to co-create the rural WiMAX solution and ensure the best alignment to operator requirements. Aricent also has more than 125 software products – ranging from complex applications to network core technology – that enable the world’s leading equipment manufacturers. to higher value toolkits and frameworks.

Sequoia Capital. N W E S 00111010 11001100 Core Services  Communications consulting  Application development D and sustenance  Infrastructure design.aricent. China. Aricent combines the leading innovation capabilities of frog design with unparalleled domain expertise in communications as a strategic supplier to the world’s foremost infrastructure. CORPORATE OFFICE 700 Hansen Way Palo Alto.WiMAX: The Cure for Rural Broadband About Aricent Aricent is a global innovation. R & integration  Network/ service/ OSS/ BSS  Testing and maintenance Unique Offerings Deep communications domain knowledge  Unique innovation/ implementation combination  Complete products and frameworks  Emerging market Expertise (India. please visit us at www. CA 94304-1388 USA Phone +1 650 391 1088 www.. 2009 WPR02091809 . technology and services company focused exclusively on communications.com/wimax. The Family Office and The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board. All Aricent brand and product names are service marks.com © 2009 Aricent Inc. All rights reserved. in the United States and other countries. The company’s investors include Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. etc)  For More Information To learn more about Aricent’s WiMAX solutions. Mexico.aricent. application and service providers. trademarks or registered marks of Aricent Inc. and how we can help address your rural broadband solution needs. September.