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Monday, August 15, 2011

4G Impacts to Mobile Backhaul

With the introduction of 4G systems, wireless networks are evolving to next generation packet architectures capable of supporting enhanced broadband connections. Simple text messaging and slow email downloads are being replaced by high-speed connections that support true mobile office applications, real time video, streaming music, and other rich multimedia applications. 4G wireless networks will approach the broadband speeds and user experience now provided by traditional DSL and cable modem wireline service. From the wireless operator’s perspective, 4G systems are vastly more efficient at using valuable wireless spectrum.
These spectral efficiency improvements support new high-speed services, as well as larger numbers of users. The additional speeds and capacity provided by 4G wireless networks put additional strains on mobile backhaul networks and the carriers providing these backhaul services. Not only are the transport requirements much higher, but there is also a fundamental shift from TDM transport in 2G and 3G networks to packet transport in 4G networks.

Understanding the impact of 4G on mobile backhaul transport is critical to deploying efficient, cost-effective transport solutions that meet wireless carrier expectations for performance, reliability and cost. Unfortunately, there has been a great deal of hype and misinformation in the industry regarding 4G bandwidths and their impact on networks.
Separating fact from fiction with regards to mobile backhaul requires an understanding of three fundamental areas:

• Network architecture
• Spectral efficiency and capacity
• Native TDM and native Ethernet transport

A thorough understanding of these issues ensures operators choose the right technology, network and architecture to implement a successful wireless backhaul business.

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