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NGMN outlines requirements for small cell backhaul

09 July 2012

NGMN outlines requirements for small cell backhaul

CBNL is pleased to announce the release of the latest white paper from the NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks) Alliance: ‘Small Cell Backhaul Requirements’.

CBNL has, over the past year, been leading a mixed group of both operators and vendors to generate consensus around the specific needs for this emerging area of backhaul technology.

The paper includes a development of CBNL’s earlier work within the NGMN on backhaul capacity provisioning, making it applicable to small cells.

As we so frequently hear in our industry, operators are currently considering the deployment of small cells as a complement to their macrocell networks to improve coverage at ‘not-spots’ and ease congestion at ‘hot-spots’.

Backhaul is increasingly cited as a key challenge, but there is uncertainty around which solutions are most suitable. This white paper aims to help move the industry forward by clarifying consensus around the operators’ requirements for small cell backhaul. 

The focus is on operator deployed, open access small cells and the ‘last mile’ of the backhaul. Many of the backhaul requirements for small cells are the same as those for macro sites, however there are some differences:

  • Cost per small cell backhaul connection will need to be much lower than for macrocells, but user Quality of Experience cannot be sacrificed.
  • There is however scope to relax some aspects of the offered Quality of Service:
    • Backhaul availability may be relaxed for capacity sites at hot-spots.
    • Capacity provisioning may be relaxed for coverage sites at not-spots.
  • Small cells dictate the following new requirements for backhaul:
    • Coverage down to street level sites with sufficient QoS.
    • Security, small form factor, and low installation cost.

An initial consideration of several types of wireless and wired backhaul solutions shows that whilst each one may be strong in one type of requirement, no one solution is good for all requirements.

It is therefore anticipated that operators will need to address diverse small cell deployment scenarios with a ‘toolbox’ of backhaul solutions.

You can download the full white paper here.

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