When mobile tech professionals and consumers gather in Barcelona on February 22, 2016 for another Mobile World Congress, all eyes will be glued to promises of greater speeds and sleeker devices. However, the engineers on hand will know that all of the grand promises require major overhauls of mobile networks.
We’re still trying to expand the availability of 4G LTE networks, but that isn’t stopping the UN from creating the IMT-2020 roadmap—promising a 5G reality by 2020. As 5G comes to fruition, wireless transmission must undergo a transformation and wireless backhaul will solidify itself as the most flexible and cost-effective backhaul technology for mobile networks.
What Is 5G, Anyway?
Mobile operators and communications service providers are pursuing initial footholds in the 5G market. However, many people don’t even realize what 5G truly means for mobile networks. Here are the four key characteristics of the 5G upgrade:
Greater capacity per end device: Not just hundreds of Mbps, but 1Gbps to 10Gbps connections to endpoints throughout the network.
Specifications for new devices: With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) services, 5G networks must support a more diverse pool of devices.
Carry data from new, more demanding services: OTTs and mobile operators will offer augmented reality, tactile Internet applications, mobile XaaS, virtual reality, and more over their networks. 5G must support all of the data produced.
The evolution of wireless transmission for 5G mobile networks
Designing wireless backhaul solutions to meet these 5G challenges is no easy task. However, there are a few key capabilities that any 5G wireless backhaul solution will have to incorporate as 5G hits the market.
Dramatically increasing the capacity of wireless backhaul solutions will help mobile operators meet the capacity demands inherent to 5G networks without sacrificing customer quality of experience.
New wireless backhauls will leverage traditional microwave bands, enhancing them by widening channel spacing, introducing higher modulation schemes, and taking advantage of new spectral-efficiency techniques such as line-of-sight MIMO. These features and the use of higher frequency connectivity can help operators deliver the required capacity while meeting operational efficiency milestones via spectrum cost savings and the reduction of fiber deployments.
New wireless backhaul frequency re-use scheme
The density of 5G network cell site grids will create heightened demand for wireless backhaul frequency re-use, as links become closer to each other. Greater frequency re-use will enable operators to leverage their existing spectrum resources to deliver the backhaul capacity necessary to support 5G traffic.
High capacity NLoS solutions
Operators can provide sufficient 4G/4.5G coverage with limited sub-6GHz spectrum. However, 5G capacity demands require more efficient microwave and millimeter-wave non-line-of-sight (NLoS) solutions to accommodate street level deployment of mobile cell sites.
Improved microwave and millimeter-wave NLoS solutions use adaptive channel estimation that ensures capacity and availability of key wireless backhaul features and operational efficiency for 5G networks.
Virtualized wireless backhaul
By integrating wireless backhaul with the SDN infrastructure, operators can attain greater operational efficiency through optimized resource utilization, such as spectrum and power.
Ceragon at MWC 2016—Redefining wireless transmission with the FibeAir IP-20 Platform
At this year’s Mobile World Congress, Ceragon will showcase its 5G wireless backhaul technologies. Ceragon is developing robust technologies to meet the need for up to 100 times higher capacity at cell sites, at least five times denser cell-site grids, with large scale street-level deployments, network virtualization and optimization, as well as support for mission critical applications.