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Backhaul Blog

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

Dr John Naylon, Chief Technology Officer, CBNL

Whilst Brazil is on course to stage two major global events, there is huge potential to learn from previous events, global best practices and technologies/applications.Millions of people are expected to flock to Brazil during the summer to attend one of the most widely viewed sporting events in the world.

Spectators will be equipped with smartphones and tablets to catalogue every moment, call family and friends or share photos and videos on social media.

With Brazil going through a mobile revolution of its own, mobile broadband subscriptions have increased year on year, the 2014 FIFA World Cup could be the biggest mobile event ever held.

However, the challenges facing Brazilian operators to quickly and flexibly increase mobile connectivity are considerable – the huge strain on Brazilian mobile and internet networks will be unprecedented.

The expected surge in mobile data demand, on top of an already strained network, will require a huge amount of infrastructure and capacity planning, as well as studying lessons learnt from previous major events.

The 2012 Olympics in London, for instance, was considered the most digital Olympics ever, with its high reliance on technology for infrastructure, services and information, as well as consumption by global audiences.

There was a significant dependence on mobile data and the network infrastructure needed to backhaul the surge in traffic.

The event saw over 627,000 Facebook check-ins across the 40 plus Olympic venues.

The surge in traffic meant operators had to quickly provide multiple areas of increased mobile coverage and capacity across venues and the wider city.

At a time where CAPEX for large communication projects is limited, the demand for next generation mobile services requires innovative infrastructure which not only provides the performance needed, but can be deployed quickly and cost effectively.

An approach taken by operators during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and London 2012 was to deploy high capacity point-to-multipoint (PMP) microwave backhaul.An approach taken by operators during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and London 2012 was to deploy high capacity point-to-multipoint (PMP) microwave backhaul.

By deploying PMP microwave, operators were able to quickly, flexibly and cost effectively bring the network closer to consumers at demand hot spots (stadiums, highly populated streets, etc) and provide a seamless high quality of service.

PMP microwave creates a sector of coverage from a single hub site which can backhaul a number of cell sites.

By aggregating multiple cell site traffic to a single hub, PMP saves on the large equipment costs of traditional backhaul technologies and is able to intelligently allocate 3G, LTE or Wi-Fi mobile capacity where it is needed most.

As network challenges grow at the same pace as user expectations, cost effective technologies like PMP microwave are particularly attractive to operators where the average revenue per user is low as it delivers every bit of data in the most economical way possible.

Whilst Brazil is on course to stage two major global events, there is huge potential to learn from previous events, global best practices and technologies/applications.

Though the challenges of delivering mobile communication infrastructure for major events are significant, by utilising the best and most innovative technologies, the FIFA World Cup and Olympics will be sure to deliver victory on the track and field that the audience can share the world over.

Chris Wright, Marketing Manager, CBNL

CBNL recently joined TeleSemana, AT&T, the Small Cell Forum and Alcatel Lucent to discuss the latest small cell trends.

Filmed at Mobile World Congress and facilitated by Rafael Junquera from TeleSemana, the discussion focused on the following themes:

  • What is the small cell market status?
  • What small cell plans are operators making?
  • Is LTE-A a key factor for small cells due to eICIC and CoMP and how do they impact deployments?
  • What have we learned from implementations and trials about deploying small cells in the different scenarios?
  • Is interoperability an issue?
  • How close are we to plug and play?

Watch the film