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Backhaul Challenges for US Mobile Operators Throughout Network

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Wireless carriers in the United States are now facing burgeoning backhaul needs that extend beyond base stations and into middle of the network elements, a new Visant Strategies study finds.

"As carriers deploy HSPA, WIMAX and EV-DO Rev A and B technologies they are increasing the capacity of backhaul to these base stations by two to three times," said study author Andy Fuertes. "Base stations employing 18 Mbps or more of backhaul capacity will grow from 10% in 2008 to over 50% in 2014. LTE, expected in 2012, could push the needed backhaul capacity beyond 50 Mbps further down the road."

Such backhaul capacity is growing beyond traditional leased line backhaul solutions, according to, "US Mobil Backhaul: Continued Expansion 2009 and the Needs of the Middle Network." Wireless technology will be used by 40% of base stations for backhaul in 2014, doubling from 2008, the study finds, while traditional microwave technology can address individual base stations and most towers through 2014.

"Aggregation of base station traffic to middle-of-the-network elements such as the base station controller (BSC) or the radio network controller (RNC), depending on the technology, is creating backhaul traffic beginning to exceed the limits of traditional backhaul technology," said study co-author Larry Swasey.

Many future connections between base stations and the BSC/RNC will require fiber, the study states, although it is often unavailable in the needed area or too costly for carriers. "Carriers are now looking at high frequency millimeter wave technology in the 80 GHz band and other solutions," Swasey added.

Backhaul capacity increases will push backhaul costs up seven percent annually through 2014, the report states.

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Tags: base station  wimax  hspa  microwave  base stations  backhaul  seven  visant strategies  base station controller  radio network controller  ev-do  towers  wave