Mobile World Congress 2014: What Operators Should Look For – Backhaul

Glenn Hunt
Glenn Hunt

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile World Congress represents the best opportunity for operators to track backhaul evolutions.
  • Backhaul should be a hot topic again, since the backhaul network is clearly a point of both contention and opportunity.
  • A number of themes should dominate the backhaul discussion: self-organizing network (SON) and automation, scalability, convergence; using routers, switches, microwave and advanced copper-based solutions.

When we launched our backhaul coverage around 2005-2006, the backhaul network discussion was just beginning to transition from TDM to packet; for some, the thought of using a wildly unpredictable packet model to support mobile traffic was considered heresy.  However, 3G mobile data was beginning to rock the boat and IP was beginning to make its way into the mobile core network.  The backhaul portion of the network then began a rather slow and painful evolution, driven not by choice but by necessity.  The primary concerns were how to install more T1 or E1 circuits in a timely fashion to satisfy meager bandwidth increases and whether packet technology could ever provide the resiliency and accurate timing and synchronization so fondly held by TDM proponents.  Flash forward to today and seldom is a TDM discussion heard, and packet discussions are all about capacity and throughput – not surprising given the real demands being placed on the network as a result of LTE.  However, the bigger discussion centers around using multiple media types and the ability to ease operator pain points related to configuration and ongoing operations; in comes an SDN vision for backhaul. Continue reading “Mobile World Congress 2014: What Operators Should Look For – Backhaul”