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Wireless Mobile Backhaul – A Zero-Sum Game? Not Anymore!

By Dudy Cohen

High Power, All-Outdoor, Multicore Radio Breaks the Mobile Backhaul Paradigm

Wireless mobile backhaul is the less glamorous part of a mobile network. However, it plays a crucial role in bringing the ultimate mobile experience to mobile customers – which is promised in the 5G vision and implemented by evolving the mobile architecture to gigabit-LTE and 5G (in the future).

The challenge – a zero-sum game

In order to maintain the quality of experience of your customers, offer new services and make sure your coverage and capacity offering is optimal, you have to overcome some challenges in the wireless backhaul domain. This task may seem, at times, quite challenging.

The reason for this is that while your wireless backhaul architecture needs to provide more capacity, service more sites, and support cell-site grid densification, your resources start to run low as your networks and services evolve.

Resources such as spectrum, power consumption, labor, real-estate, towers and poles are becoming harder and costlier to acquire, especially in urban areas. So, you may find that when it comes to increasing capacity, the required spectrum is not always as available as you need it to be; when it comes to labor, it is not always as skilled as you would like it to be; and when it comes to towers and poles, the space on those is running out. Add all this to the fact that a lot of mobile operators sold their tower infrastructure to specialized operators and/or lease them from third parties – and you get a set of constraints that often contradict one another and lead to a zero-sum game that demands compromise.

But here’s the thing. When you compromise, your customers suffer, you encounter churn and at the end of the day – you lose.

For example, let’s take a look at the capacity-availability-reach-load equation. You need more capacity, you need to maintain availability, you have to reach more sites, but you want to have the smallest footprint at those sites. If you want to reach further – you may use lower modulations but then, you won’t be able to get the capacity you need.

If you want to achieve the capacity needed, you may use higher modulations but this comes at a cost of jeopardizing your availability target, your SLA and your customer satisfaction.

So let’s increase the system gain by using larger antennas – much larger antennas. That way, you can maintain availability even when working with higher modulation and extend the reach of the links to cover all necessary scenarios. This sounds good until you realize that not only do larger antennas cost more, but they are also much costlier to mobilize and deploy, and they also occupy more space on the towers and poles you use. This means that you will have a much harder time finding this available tower space, and when you do find it, you will have to pay more for this space, every single month.

Back to our question: is this really a zero-sum game?

Do operators really need to compromise when it comes to deploying their wireless backhaul network as they evolve their network and services towards gigabit LTE and 5G?

The answer is a loud no!

Multicore meets high-power and changes the game

You may be surprised to find out that the solutions to each part of the equation have existed for 4 years, ever since Ceragon introduced its multicore technology.

You can increase the capacity of a link without adding more spectrum if you use capacity-boosting techniques such as XPIC and 4x4 LoS MIMO.

You can overcome network-densification, wireless backhaul spectrum bottlenecks by implementing Advanced Frequency Reuse, which allows you to use the same wireless backhaul frequency in two adjacent links even when their angular separation is as low as 15 degrees.

You can increase availability by splitting the given traffic between two carriers that co-exist in a single radio and use lower modulation.

You can increase your reach and availability by using high-power radios; or by using the extra system gain of features such as LoS MIMO and Advanced Space Diversity.

And, you can reduce your site footprint using a high-power solution that reduces the antenna size; or all-outdoor solutions that eliminate the need for shelter space; or, in the case of a space-diversity link, Advanced Space Diversity and saving 25% of the radios per link.

If only you could have all these solutions in a single box – a multicore unit that is all-outdoor and high power.

Such a unit would allow operators to leverage all the above mentioned benefits: those derived from multicore (with LoS MIMO, Advanced Frequency Reuse, Advanced Space Diversity, Remote 2nd carrier activation and more), those that come with an all-outdoor solution and those of a high-power radio.

Guess what – such a unit exists!

Ceragon introduces the FibeAir IP-20C-HP, an all-outdoor, multicore, high-power solution. Learn all about it at: https://www.ceragon.com/products/fibeair-ip-20c-hp/

 

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