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The Small Cell Forum Says: Backhaul is NOT a barrier to Small Cell Deployment

20 March 2013

The Small Cell Forum Says: Backhaul is NOT a barrier to Small Cell Deployment

The Small Cell Forum has just published Release One, the first in a series which aim to provide “all you need to know” packages to help operators deploy small cells, and for solution providers to understand technology trends and requirements.

Although the main focus of this first release is the ‘Home’ environment (i.e. residential femtocells), it does also cover other types of small cells, namely enterprise, rural and most importantly for us, metro. 

As Vice Chair of the SCF’s backhaul SIG, CBNL has been heavily involved with the compiling of the Forum’s Backhaul white paper, which covers use cases, requirements and an in-depth discussion of the different types of solutions. 

Being such a hot topic, there was intense interest and contribution from a wide range of viewpoints, so the paper has ended up being a weighty 80 page reference, rather than a brief overview. 

That said, the key message is quite clear: backhaul is not a barrier to small cell deployment. 

By looking in detail into the characteristics of the different wired and wireless solutions, it is found that used together, they can meet the needs for the different use cases envisaged.  

The work draws on the NGMN’s operator view of ‘Small Cell Backhaul Requirements’, and adds to this detailed descriptions of the different solution categories. 

Highlights for me would have to be a new discussion on latency requirements, and the section on how we split the wireless solutions into different categories – based largely on the different combinations of carrier frequency and spectrum licensing arrangement.  

A wealth of information is then available on each type of solution, but summary tables are included to concisely show how each one matches up to key requirements.

This paper should help operators in selecting appropriate tools from the famous backhaul toobox.

See below for some links to this and other essential references for your small cell backhaul reading list.

[1] “NGMN Alliance Small Cell Backhaul Requirements”, NGMN Alliance, Jun 2012,

The operator consensus view of requirements for small cell backhaul

[2] “Backhaul Technologies for Small Cells, use cases, requirements and solutions”, Small Cell Forum, Feb 2013,

SCF’s new reference paper, builds on NGMN requirements adding detailed description of the different solutions’ characteristics.

[3] "Five ways to deploy small cells and the implications for backhaul”, CBNL, Aug 2012,

Describes how different operator motivations to deploy small cells (Capacity, QoE, Coverage) lead to different deployment styles, which in turn point to different choices from the backhaul toolbox.
[4] “Small Cell Forum release structure and roadmap”,  Small Cell Forum, Feb 2013,

Describes the thinking behind the SCF’s release programme the topics addressed and future plans

Categories: 5G FWA Blog

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