Introduction to Next Generation Wireless Backhaul

As data rates and mobile Internet use is increasing one of the big challenges of mobile operators is how to keep pace with adding capacity in the backhaul network, i.e. the network that connects the base station to the rest of the network. Currently, many operators still use slow and expensive 2 MBit/s E-1 and T-1 links that don't scale well at all with the rising wireless data rates that a single base station can provide.

This article in the 3/08 edition of the Ericsson review gives a great overview of next generation IP based backhaul and how to get there. Despite only being a few pages long, it touches a lot of different topics. Here are some examples:

  • In practice, the radio access network is split in two parts: The last mile to the base station and the aggregation network to the border node to the core network. For both parts, the article explains the different technology choices.
  • For the aggregation layer, different architectures are described from VDSL, microwave Ethernet and fiber.
  • An introduction to Quality of Service, latency, jitter and circuit emulation are also not missing.
  • And finally, a migration path from current E-1 centered access networks to hybrid networks in which a base station has both E-1 and IP connectivity to full IP connectivity with pseudo wire capabilities is also inside.

Definitely, a recommended read!