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Unified Communications: December 18, 2009 eNewsletter
December 18, 2009

Hybrid Technologies Key to Managing Wireless Demand: Report

By Brendan B. Read, Senior Contributing Editor

You can have too much of a good thing if you don’t have the capacity for it.
Such is the case with wireless broadband where bandwidth-munching applications such as video streaming, online media sharing, and other resource-hungry data services.
This demand is creating, reports Frost and Sullivan “a critical need for existing mobile networks to support larger capacity and greater bandwidth.” With the availability of a host of emerging next-generation technologies such as 3G, long-term evolution, and worldwide interoperability for microwave access, the existing backhaul deployments built on fiber technology are gradually losing significance though.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) Wireless and Mobile Backhaul – R&D and Deployment Prospects, finds that offering a hybrid framework, capable of supporting multiservice network traffic, is expected to be the way ahead for backhaul developers and vendors. The report, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides a technology overview and outlook for the wireless and mobile backhaul technology. The study offers a comprehensive analysis of the drivers and challenges currently influencing the developments in the backhaul domain. The research also elucidates the different strategies that could potentially be employed for deploying and commercializing wireless backhaul technologies.
“The rising adoption of next generation networking coupled with the drive towards establishing an all IP networking environment has severely undermined the functionality of the existing backhaul infrastructures,” said Technical Insights Research Analyst Yin Fern Ko. “In this regard, the potential offered by microwave technology in facilitating a single converged backhaul platform for supporting an all-Internet-protocol, packet-based network traffic is a key factor currently driving the implementation of mobile backhaul networks.”
Such solutions are not without its challenges though. With the ongoing trend to replace conventional T1 technology with Ethernet and microwave technologies for mobile backhaul, operators must accommodate the capability to support data applications without compromising the interests of traditional voice traffic.
However, developing such a hybrid platform, which comprehensively supports time division multiplexing, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), and other packet-based network traffic, poses a significant challenge to the developers in this domain.
“Therefore, the criticality of handling diverse network traffic on a single unified framework poses serious concerns in facilitating the smooth transition from conventional backhaul technologies to the next generation of microwave technologies,” according to the report.
A major drawback associated with the implementation of wireless backhaul is the ability to deliver the expected standard of carrier grade performance. Handling performance issues including jitter, bandwidth, and packet loss based on the nature of network traffic becomes extremely vital.
“While data-traffic is impacted by network issues such as packet-loss, voice-traffic is more liable to be sensitive towards network issues such as transmission delay,” adds Technical Insights analyst Archit Subramanian. “Developing a platform, which absorbs the capability to intelligently handle network issues based on the sensitivity it bears to the transmitted-data, serves is a key factor impeding the immediate deployment of microwave-based backhaul infrastructures.”
As backhaul service providers and providers of wireline wholesale services, the stakeholders have to constantly ensure that the backhaul capacity is capable of supporting the application needs of the end user. Currently, a dominant issue facing stakeholders is upgrading their TDM infrastructure to all IP/Ethernet networks. Backhaul service providers and providers of wireline wholesale services must decouple the operating cost and revenues in order to increase capacity while lowering operating costs.
“Another important consideration for backhaul providers on the migration to all-IP/Ethernetwork is shortening the time-to-market to no more than a year to maximize return on investment,” Subramanian said. “To address this issue, backhaul suppliers must invest in several R&D areas including dynamic modulation scheme, advanced antenna system, and advanced security to create a cost-efficient backhaul solution with good quality of service and link budget.”
Learn more about next-generation technologies at the 4GWE Conference. To be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami and collocated with ITEXPO East 2010, the 4GWE Conference will focus on the realities of deploying 4G technologies and delivering broadband wireless applications to a growing community of wireless broadband consumers. Don’t wait. Register now.

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan


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