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Tools of the trade for small cell backhaul

17 July 2012

Tools of the trade for small cell backhaul
Why multipoint microwave may be one of the sharpest tools in the box

The challenge of how to backhaul outdoor small cells with the required capacity and coverage (and at the required cost) was much discussed at last month’s Small Cells World Summit.

But which solution ticks all the backhaul requirements?

My seminar at the event centred on this question and on the fact that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for the range of small cell network environments we are starting to see.

But this needn’t cause concern.

I’m a firm believer in the toolbox approach which addresses many of the challenges of small cell backhaul and provides operators with a great opportunity to meet their customers’ data demands and maintain revenues through an efficient deployment strategy.

As we move through small cell trials and towards commercialisation, it’s clear operators must have a variety of small cell backhaul options in their armoury.

This should include fibre (where possible) and a range of wireless technologies including; non-line of sight multipointe-band point-to-point and high capacity multipoint microwave - each bringing unique qualities to the table.

My presentation (downloaded a pdf here) presents an overview of small cell backhaul challenges and the role we expect each wireless technology to play.


Once small cell networks become established some interesting trends will start to become apparent in the network traffic.

It’s very likely backhaul traffic will be a lot burstier and have higher peak data rates than traditional networks, caused in part through a reduced amount of users per site compared to that we typically see on a macro cell.

This will demand greater efficiency in the backhaul if it is to meet operators’ business cases and is one of the key reasons why high-capacity multipoint microwave should be on the must try backhaul list for all operators.

The efficiency gains multipoint microwave brings through aggregating backhaul traffic make it an essential tool for small cells backhaul.

This aggregation not only provides high-capacity backhaul to meet users extreme data demands, but vitally reduces the cost per link.


Here's a video from the Small Cells World Summit where I provide more information.

Categories: 5G FWA Blog

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