LTE Backhaul, Fronthaul, and Flexihaul Considerations

LTE is a major change in the evolution of mobile network architectures from two key aspects. Firstly, LTE represents the final stage in the evolution from circuit/packet hybrid networks to a fully IP-based packet network, and secondly LTE also transitions from the legacy hierarchical network architecture to a flat and distributed architecture thanks to the incorporation of the RNC in the eNodeB.

This report examines how LTE networks are driving changes in the mobile backhaul whether fiber, microwave, copper, or satellite and also discusses the influence of HetNets on LTE backhaul design.

Although not a "backhaul" technology as such the report discusses fronthaul for those applications using RRH for CRAN-based LTE RAN architectures, since the technologies involved in fronthaul are closely allied to those used in backhaul.

Table of Contents

  • 1. THE CHALLENGES OF BACKHAUL FOR LTE AND BEYOND
    • 1.1. Reference Topology
    • 1.2. Requirements for LTE and LTE-A
    • 1.3. Issues in Evolution to EPC
    • 1.4. X2 Interface
    • 1.5. Header Compression
    • 1.6. Encryption
    • 1.7. Synchronization
    • 1.8. Caching/Mobile Content Delivery Networks
    • 1.9. Influence of HetNets on Backhaul
      • 1.9.1. SON
      • 1.9.2. Controllers
      • 1.9.3. eICIC
      • 1.9.4. Coordinated Multipoint Transmission
      • 1.9.5. Handover
      • 1.9.6. X2 Interface
      • 1.9.7. Traffic and Peak versus Average Capacity
      • 1.9.8. Backhaul
      • 1.9.9. Core Offload: LIPA, SIPTO, and IP Flow Mobility
      • 1.9.10. Network/Security
    • 1.10. Ethernet Backhaul Solutions
    • 1.11. Ethernet as a Service
    • 1.12. Carrier Ethernet Reduces CAPEX and OPEX
    • 1.13. Carrier Ethernet 2.0
    • 1.14. Network Layers
    • 1.15. Selected Service Provider Backhaul Strategies
      • 1.15.1. Verizon Wireless
      • 1.15.2. AT&T Wireless
      • 1.15.3. Sprint
      • 1.15.4. TeliaSonera Sweden
      • 1.15.5. Yota
      • 1.15.6. Softbank/Wireless City Planning Japan
      • 1.15.7. SK Telecom
      • 1.15.8. M1 Singapore
      • 1.15.9. MTN
    • 1.16. Backhaul Service Provider's Opportunity
    • 1.17. Opportunity for Cable MSOs
    • 1.18. Specialist Backhaul Providers
    • 1.19. Satellite Backhaul Providers
  • 2. MICROWAVE, COPPER, FIBER, AND SATELLITE LTE BACKHAUL
    • 2.1. Fiber vs. Microwave
    • 2.2. Microwave LoS (6 GHz to 38 GHz)
    • 2.3. Microwave PMP
    • 2.4. MMW LoS (60 GHz to 80 GHz)
    • 2.5. Mesh Wi-Fi NLoS (Sub-6 GHz)
    • 2.6. OFDM NLoS (Sub-6 GHz)
    • 2.7. Leading Equipment Vendors
    • 2.8. Copper Backhaul
      • 2.8.1. DSL
    • 2.9. Fiber Backhaul
    • 2.10. Satellite Backhaul
  • 3. LTE BACKHAUL TECHNOLOGY TRADE-OFFS
  • 4. LTE BACKHAUL MARKET FORECAST
  • 5. FRONTHAUL AND FLEXIHAUL
    • 5.1. Access Is the New Backhaul

Tables

  1. Key SON Feature Deployment and Impact on Backhaul
  2. Vendor Small Cell Microwave Backhaul Portfolio Comparison
  3. LTE Mobile Backhaul Technology Trade-offs

Charts

  1. LTE Commercial Networks in Operation, Global Actual and 2013 Forecast
  2. LTE eNodeB Unit Forecast, World Markets, Forecast: 2012 to 2018
  3. LTE eNodeB Backhaul Usage, World Markets, 2013
  4. LTE eNodeB Backhaul Usage, World Markets, 2018

Figures

  1. LTE Reference Topology
  2. 3GPP UMTS and LTE Rel10 Small Cell Network Architectures