Operators to offload 30% of mobile traffic via small cells, WiFi hotspots, and femtocells

While operators handle most of their mobile traffic with
macrocells (90 percent on average) and the backhaul network, operators already
offload about 10 percent of their traffic over indoor and outdoor small cells,
WiFi hotspots, and residential femtocells. They intend to triple that to about
30 percent at some point in 2013 or later.

This trend really highlights the importance of spectrum
offload and backhaul offload strategies to operators. Of the mobile traffic
handling alternatives, outdoor small cells will see the most growth in use
among our respondents, increasing five-fold from 2011 to 2013 or later. And for
operators deploying outdoor small cells, the most popular technologies to use
in 2013 will be Ethernet on fiber, Ethernet-only microwave, and Ethernet on
copper,” said Michael Howard, principal analyst and co-founder of Infonetics Research.

By 2013, a majority of mobile operators and transport
providers will have over 90 percent of their cell sites connected with

70 percent of operators plan to use some form of MPLS at
their cell sites, and prefer to lease a layer 2 only” service from transport

Small cells are commonly expected to be a key
characteristic of LTE networks, yet there is a growing acceptance that they
will also play a vital role in HSPA networks, where they have so far played
only a minor role.

In our IP/Ethernet and small cell backhaul survey, 58
percent of the operators we interviewed said they will deploy small cells such
as microcells and picocells by the end of 2011, and 68 percent plan to in the
future, a clear indication that small cells are a growing part of a total
coverage/capacity/quality strategy for 3G,” Howard added.

Infonetics said about 150 operators are actively deploying a single (no TDM)
all-IP/Ethernet backhaul in some part of their network in 2011, up from 25 in
2009 and about 100 in 2010.

In addition to the usual drivers for moving to
all-IP/Ethernet backhaul (mobile broadband traffic, HSPA+, LTE planning, etc.),
a new driver popped up in this year’s survey: fixed mobile convergence (FMC),
as carriers plan to optimize operations by converging mobile and fixed traffic
in the same network.

By Telecomlead.com Team
[email protected]