Small cell backhaul to shift toward wireless backhaul from copper and fiber

While outdoor
small cells have received a lot of attention lately, small cell backhaul has
yet to see the spotlight. The reason has been twofold – first, there hasn’t
been any significant outdoor small cell deployment yet, and second, operators
are still in the process of trialing and testing small cell backhaul
technologies, especially the newer contenders.

Due to its
unique characteristics, there are numerous considerations that need to be taken
into account for a small cell backhaul solution. These include product
footprint, range, cost, Ethernet/IP support, and capacity. By 2016, an estimated
58 percent of outdoor small cells will be backhauled using wireless techniques.

While fiber,
copper, and traditional microwave are currently being used to backhaul rooftop
micro base stations, the emergence of wireless technologies like NLOS OFDM (sub
6 GHz), MMW (60-80 GHz) and also Wi-Fi backhaul solutions are likely to find
preference due to their flexibility, low cost and ability to use
point-to-multipoint (PMP) and point-to-point (PTP) techniques to backhaul
clusters or rows of small cells.

Small cell
backhaul space is still in its early days, with a number of small vendors positioning
their solutions, especially on the wireless backhaul side,” said Aditya Kaul,
practice director, mobile networks, ABI Research

While the
majority of small cell backhaul activity is concentrated in OFDM NLOS sub 6 GHz
and to some extent in the MMW 60-80 GHz space, the cost of these solutions will
need to come down to allow operators to make a favorable small cell business
case,” Kaul added.

By Team
[email protected]