You are here

LTE

Published 05 November 2015 in Backhaul, Events
Tags: AfricaCom, digital dividend, tower sharing, Backhaul, LTE

Dr John Naylon, Chief Technology Officer, CBNL

One of the pleasures of attending AfricaCom is gaining insight into the most recent innovations in network architecture, and particularly in understanding how the business case for a mobile network can be improved by technical innovation.

The macroscopic telecoms environment features exponentially growing customer demand for data, delivered within a flat-to-declining ARPU envelope. 

This is particularly the case in Africa, and is driving a number of phenomena in all parts of the modern mobile network.

One example is tower sharing, whereby operators can reduce their capex and opex by amortising the costs of infrastructure across their combined subscriber bases.

Another example is the use of so-called ‘digital dividend’ ex-broadcast spectrum at 700 and 800MHz to create LTE coverage across wide areas more cost effectively. 

The physical propagation characteristics of these low frequencies mean that a given LTE base station can provide coverage to a larger radius. 

In turn, that means more subscribers are served by a single base station.

These approaches help in delivering services more cost effectively because they both increase the degree to which infrastructure is shared amongst subscribers. 

The neat part is that this increased sharing does not compromise the user experience in any way. 

This is because users’ data demands in mobile networks are statistically mutually asynchronous. 

In other words, it doesn’t matter how many other subs might use a given set of network resources throughout the day, only the number using those resources at a precise instant.

In the backhaul segment of the network, another example of a technology which can enhance network ROI is PMP microwave. 

Just as in the previous two examples, PMP microwave increases the amount of sharing of infrastructure that occurs. 

In this case, a single hub radio and its RF channel is time-division multiplexed amongst amongst multiple 3G or LTE base stations, avoiding the need for dedicated hub backhaul hardware for each base station. 

Again, because of the statistical asynchrony of backhaul requirements, there is no difference in the service delivered to the base station or end user. 

Using efficient technology in this way can create TCO savings of nearly 50% for the backhaul network.

African mobile operators are world leaders in adopting all three approaches described above, and in making a virtue of the necessity to do so. 

Because the growth in data demand shows no sign of abating, creating a relentless need to deliver more bits for the same cost, these techniques are becoming increasingly relevant in all regions of the world.

As in previous years, the CBNL executive team will be attending AfricaCom 2015 and look forward to meeting our customers and media from across the continent.

If you are attending AfricaCom and would like to meet us at the event, please email Chris Wright, CBNL’s Marketing Director, at cwright@cbnl.com who will be happy to schedule a meeting for you at the CBNL suite. 

Dr John Naylon, Chief Technology Officer, CBNL

The forthcoming Small Cell World Summit will again bring together leaders from across the industry to discuss the latest trends and technologies in this space, along with operator’s deployment strategies (a particular point of interest for almost all delegates).

Last year we focused on total cost of ownership for small cell backhaul (see the slides here) which coincided with the launch of our first VectaStar Metro product

With the World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) set to take place in 2015, we thought it was timely to shine a light on the opportunities for backhaul in various frequency bands and how future spectrum availability may affect operator’s backhaul choices.

High capacity and low total cost of ownership continue to dominate the list of requirements for small cell backhaul and spectrum can play a major role in this.

I anticipate the WRC may designate more low frequency spectrum for LTE RAN services next year.

If they do we’ll see even more traction for technologies operating in the 6-42Ghz band as backhaul is displaced out of the sub-6GHz space.

Backhaul products operating between 6-42Ghz will play a central role in creating the low TCO we demonstrated last year for our own small cell multipoint product, whilst at the same time having the ability to deliver the essential capacity requirements.

Of course there’s the question of how to maximise spectrum resources once they are acquired.

The bursty data profile of small cells (whether LTE or Wi-Fi) lends itself especially well to multipoint backhaul.

Multipoint can realise huge efficiency gains in the network by aggregating data from several small cells, saving equipment costs and reducing the capacity operators need to provision.

By utilising licensed frequency bands, multipoint also offers seamless quality of service between macro and small cell layers.

We firmly believe ‘backhaul is backhaul’ and if customer satisfaction (and retention) is to be achieved, the user should always see great availability, reliability and speed whether connecting via a small cell or a macro node.

I’ll be discussing this in more depth at the Small Cell World Summit when I join Deutsche Telekom on the “Opportunities for backhaul in various frequency bands” panel session – 14.40 - Wednesday 11th June.

We’ll also look at how spectrum availability is dictating backhaul choices across the globe and if there is a balance to be met with licensed and unlicensed strategies.

I hope to see you at the event – please read our events page for more information and to schedule a meeting with the CBNL team.

Chris Wright, Marketing Manager, CBNL

It's five years since of the most significant landmarks in the telecommunications industry – when data overtook voice as the dominant traffic on mobile networks. 

This highlighted 3G and smartphone adoption across many high subscriber markets, but only really provided a glimpse of what was to come. 

Since then data has become five times that of voice. With 40 million new LTE subscriptions added during Q4 2013, data is only going one way.

The latest Ericsson Mobility Report provides an excellent summary and got us thinking.

What effect has the rise of data had on backhaul, and more specifically, how have we supported operators in developing products to meet the challenges?

Higher capacity, greater efficiency, lower costs and feature rich platforms to support quick deployment have all become staple backhaul requirements.

We’ve been privileged to support some of the largest operators in the world with solutions to meet these requirements, but have not stood still to achieve this.

Since 2009 we’ve launched four new product variants which efficiently backhaul today’s data demand trends, the latest being the wideband VectaStar Gigabit and Metro unveiled at this year’s Mobile World Congress.

To understand VectaStar’s progression over the last five years in more depth we analysed some key performance indicators which are shown on our new infographic.

As you can see, we’ve made vast technical advances which have united to establish VectaStar as one of the leading backhaul technologies on the market today.

 

Dr John Naylon, Chief Technology Officer, CBNL

Dr John Naylon, Chief Technology Officer, CBNL

CBNL doubles mobile backhaul capacity for LTE networks At Mobile World Congress this year, CBNL launched ODU-W, its VectaStar wideband point-to-multipoint (PMP) backhaul solution.

As well as being the highest capacity PMP backhaul solution in the marketplace, ODU-W is the fifth generation of the VectaStar portfolio: 5G backhaul!

The VectaStar platform has been under continuous development for over a decade.

During that time the capacity the product line can serve in a single sector has increased by a factor of ten, from 120Mbps to 1.2Gbps, while at the same time the total cost of ownership of the solution has fallen dramatically.

Correspondingly the worldwide adoption of PMP as a backhaul technology has grown rapidly and VectaStar is now used by seven of the world’s top ten largest operator groups by subscriber numbers.

Of course we are being slightly tongue-in-cheek in referring to the latest version of VectaStar as “5G backhaul”.

Most people will understand this as referring to backhaul for the generation of RAN systems that will come after 4G (LTE and LTE-Advanced).

Audience at the NGMN Press ConferenceCBNL are members of, and significant contributors to, the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance, or NGMN, an industry collaboration that was pivotal in the worldwide adoption of LTE.

We are therefore extremely excited by the NGMN’s new initiative for 5G announced at Mobile World Congress, and look forward to collaborating on the first outputs, expected later this year.

This kind of industry partnership is one of the prime ways that CBNL ensures its products are suited to the most demanding networking applications on earth, soon also to include 5G backhaul!

Dr John Naylon, Chief Technology Officer, CBNL

We recently spoke to The Mobile Network about some of the novel approaches our customers are taking to building next generation backhaul.

Just as application-specific physical servers in the data centre are becoming a thing of the past, at CBNL we think that application-specific networks are starting to go the same way. 

By re-using the same physical infrastructure to run multiple virtual network applications, our customers are making significant savings and creating additional benefits, such as lowered end-user churn.

Taking advantage of powerful, in-built QoS-aware scheduling and soft service definitions, CBNL’s VectaStar platform transforms a previously inflexible and costly part of the network. 

Multiple virtual networks are easily defined and new requirements like small cell backhaul can be added when needed.

The figure below shows data from one of our customers who are back hauling 3G, LTE and enterprise access across a high capacity VectaStar network at 26 and 28GHz. 

The network already comprises almost 5,000 links. Despite the mobile data traffic trebling in less than two years, there is plenty of room for further growth not just in the raw number of links, but also by adding completely new backhaul applications, such as small cell.

The feature can be found on pages 30-33 of the latest edition of The Mobile Network.

If you’re in Barcelona next week, please come and visit us at the CBNL stand - Hall 5, Stand 5H27

We’ll be running a live demo of the new VectaStar wideband platform showing how a high capacity mobile cell site can be backhauled within the same sector as an enterprise access customer with a custom QoS profile.

We hope to see you there.

CBNL stand location at Mobile World Congress 2014

Hall 5, Stand 5H27