With mobile networks getting faster and faster a growing pain for network operators is the backhaul connection between the base station sites and the next element in the network. Today, T-1 or E-1 connections are used with a line rate of 1.5 and 2 MBit/s. With HSDPA being put in place today, backhaul capacity requirements of 3G base stations now reach 10 MBit/s or more. This means putting additional T-1 or E-1 lines in place. While this might still work today for HSDPA speeds despite the associated rising costs it certainly won’t work tomorrow for WiMAX, LTE and other Beyond 3G technologies that require backhaul capacities of 60 MBit/s per base station and more.
So the big question is what comes after T-1/E-1 connections over copper, fiber or microwave!? The common answer these days seems to be:
IP over Ethernet with the capability to carry legacy GSM (TDM) and UMTS/HSDPA (ATM) links in IP pseudo-wires alongside native IP traffic generated by native WiMAX and LTE base stations.
But how do you connect the base station sites to Carrier Ethernet Networks? Can the last mile be done over copper, is fiber required or is next generation microwave an alternative? Questions over Questions 🙂
I found some answers in a recent one hour Light Reading Webinar on the topic which is available for free at this link. If you are interested in the topic take a look.