Today’s mobile networks are ‘honeycomb’ grids consisting of relatively large cells. Growth in the mobile telecom industry is prompting telecom carriers to move toward heterogeneous wireless networks. Such networks will be more complex, with an array of multi-layered and overlapping large and small cells designed to better support data-intensive devices such as smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices more efficiently. One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to link all of those small cells back to the network. This is where LightPointe's products come in.
LTE and HSPA+ require very large "backhaul pipes." Cellular operators, to date, have handled this huge demand for bandwidth primarily by installing expensive fiber optics cable and infrastructure to their towers and buildings. In a small cell environment, however, this is not feasible, as small cells will be installed on the sides of buildings, street poles and hidden in acceptable metropolitan areas, most of which do not have access to fiber. In fact, in many locations it is impossible to even obtain the rights to trench and lay fiber.
LightPointe’s product line is ideal for small cell backhaul
Free Space Optics and Hybrid Optical-Radios for small cell backhaul:
Today’s 4th generation Free Space Optics technology provides an excellent solution for small cell backhaul challenges. First of all, Free Space Optics (FSO) is license free. There’s no upfront or recurring costs as with many other wireless bridging solutions. Secondly, FSO technology is immune to radio frequency interference and congestion issues, which in a dense small cell network layout is especially beneficial. Thirdly, LightPointe’s FSO products are small and attractively designed, enabling installation in aesthetically sensitive urban environments. In addition, FSO products are very cost effective. LigthtPointe offers a Gigabit capacity link for just $9,900 MSRP, with large carrier orders coming in well below this level. Given the massive quantities of small cells required for major carriers, this is a huge benefit. Lastly, FSO technology is widely regarded as the most secure method of wireless point-to-point transmission. The signal cannot be successfully intercepted, and ‘eavesdropping’ is virtually impossible. In a dense urban small cell area, this is an important benefit as sensitive data may be transmitted.
60 and 70/80 GHz radios for small cell backhaul:
LightPointe’s 60 and 70/80 GHz radios are also an excellent option for small cell backhaul. First of all, in the eband 70-95 GHz range, there are large blocks of licensed spectrum available in many parts of the world. In most regions, these licenses can be obtained relatively quickly and at an affordable cost. As for 60 GHz, these radios can be deployed license free in most regions and the frequency’s inherent oxygen absorption makes it ideal for short range small cell network environments. In addition, these radios have a very narrow transmission beam, what’s often referred to as a “pencil beam” data path which is very precise and thus multiple radio bridges can be deployed close together without causing interference with their neighboring links. Like Free Space Optics, millimeter wave radios offer Gigabit capacity, ideal for small cell backhaul. Lastly, LightPointe's new millimeter wave radios provide extremely low latency, which is essential when daisy-chaining a series of links together in a small cell architecture.
News about Millimeter Wave Backhaul
Millimeter Wave Market Set to Double in 2013
The global millimeter wave equipment market is projected to grow to just under $600 million by 2017, according to Infonetics Research. A market share shakeup is expected over the coming months as major microwave vendors including Aviat Networks, Ericsson, Fujitsu, and Huawei launch millimeter wave products.
"An increasing number of mobile operators are deploying millimeter wave to augment their existing microwave macrocell backhaul deployments," notes Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave and carrier WiFi at Infonetics Research. "The enhanced capacities made possible by millimeter wave are proving to be a viable solution for backhaul in metro areas where range limitations aren't always problematic."
Webb adds: "The market is on track to more than double this year, followed by continued healthy growth going forward, powered by the increased use of millimeter wave for LTE macrocell backhaul and small cells -- most of which use the unlicensed 60 GHz band."
In the early years of the millimeter wave market, most deployments were for access-based applications for enterprise and fixed operator customers, whereas mobile backhaul is now and will remain the predominant driver of the market going forward.
Infonetics: Millimeter Wave Market Set to Double in 2013, Fueled by LTE Backhaul
Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its latest Millimeter Wave market share, size, and forecasts report, which tracks unlicensed E-band, licensed E-band, and W-band millimeter wave equipment by network application (access, backhaul, and transport).
“An increasing number of mobile operators are deploying millimeter wave to augment their existing microwave macrocell backhaul deployments,” notes Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave and carrier WiFi at Infonetics Research. “The enhanced capacities made possible by millimeter wave are proving to be a viable solution for backhaul in metro areas where range limitations aren’t always problematic.”
Webb adds: “The market is on track to more than double this year, followed by continued healthy growth going forward, powered by the increased use of millimeter wave for LTE macrocell backhaul and small cells—most of which use the unlicensed 60 GHz band.”
MILLIMETER WAVE EQUIPMENT MARKET HIGHLIGHTS
Infonetics expects the global millimeter wave equipment market to grow to just under $600 million by 2017
A market share shakeup is expected over the coming months as major microwave vendors including Aviat Networks, Ericsson, Fujitsu, and Huawei launch millimeter wave products
In the early years of the millimeter wave market, most deployments were for access-based applications for enterprise and fixed operator customers, whereas mobile backhaul is now and will remain the predominant driver of the market going forward
Infonetics' biannual millimeter wave report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2017, and analysis for unlicensed E band (60GHz), licensed E band (70–90GHz), and W band (75–110GHz) millimeter wave equipment by network application (access, backhaul, transport). The report tracks units, revenue, and ARPU and follows Aviat Networks, Bridgwave, CableFree, ECI Telecom, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Intracom, LightPointe, Loea, NEC, Proxim, SIAE, Siklu, and others. To buy the report, contact Infonetics:http://www.infonetics.com/contact.asp.
About Infonetics Research Report/How to Order
Millimeter Waves are the highest band of radio waves and operate at a frequency range of 20-300 GHz. The radio waves in this band have wavelengths that are in order of millimeters (mm), which is why the waves in this band are called millimeter waves, abbreviated as MM Waves. In wireless communications, frequency is one of the major factors that ascertain the feasibility of the technology.
The global millimeter wave technology revenue market is expected to reach $116 million by end of 2013 and is expected to grow to cross $1.1 billion in 2018 at a CAGR of 59.1%. Similarly volumes are estimated to grow from 11.8 thousand units to more than 360 thousand units in 2018. This growth is heralded by the expected by the growing telecom application market for millimeter wave technology especially in the small cell backhaul field. The millimeter wave scanner market is also expected to grow rapidly in the coming five years.
The report, based on an extensive research study of the MM Wave technology market and the related semiconductor, component, product industries, is aimed at identifying the entire market of specifically the MM Wave products and MM Wave components in all the applications excluding consumer electronic applications. The report covers the overall market and sub-segment markets through extensively detailed classifications, in terms of both - revenue and shipments.
This report is focused on giving a bird's eye-view of the complete MM wave industry with regards to the products market with detailed market segmentations; combined with qualitative analysis at each and every aspect of the classifications done by semiconductors, components, frequency bands, frequency licensing nature, products, application verticals (sectors), sub-applications, and geography. All the numbers, both - revenue & volume, at every level of detail, are forecast till 2018 to give a glimpse of the potential revenue base in this market.
In this report, the global MM Wave technology market is fully segmented into the following categories and the industry trends also covered, by the following aspects:
Total Markets: Global MM Wave Technology Market - Product Market, Child/Sub-Markets, Related Markets, Complementary Markets (with sub-segmentation), Total Addressable Market (TAM) and Market Penetration of MM Wave technology
Child/Sub Markets: Semiconductors Market in MM Wave, Electronic & Electrical Components Market in MM Wave
Related Markets: Super High Frequency (SHF - 3 to 30 GHz) Equipment Market, Extremely High Frequency (EHF - 30 to 300 GHz) Equipment Market
11 Company Profiles 11.1 Agilent Technologies, Inc. 11.2 Aviat Networks, Inc. 11.3 Bridgewave Communications, Inc. 11.4 E-Band Communications Corporation 11.5 Farran Technology Ltd. 11.6 Hittite Microwave Corporation 11.7 Lightpointe Communications, Inc. 11.8 Loea Corporation 11.9 Millitech, Inc. 11.10 Mi-Wave, Inc. 11.11 Nec Corporation 11.12 Proxim Wireless Corporation 11.13 Pulse~Link, Inc. 11.14 Siklu Communication Ltd. 11.15 Smiths Group Plc 11.16 Tensorcom, Inc. 11.17 Vubiq, Inc. 11.18 Wasa Millimeter Wave Ab
Cellular operators are currently looking to small cells (picocells and microcells) as a way to bolster network capacity and better use their existing spectrum resources. However, one of the biggest challenges in deploying small cells is figuring out how to cost-effectively backhaul the traffic from those small cell sites.
Because a small cell will likely handle less traffic than a macrocell it seems logical that small cell backhaul would cost less than macrocell backhaul. But apparently that is not the case if the backhaul mechanism is fiber.
Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), which purchases a lot of its backhaul capacity from incumbent local exchange carriers and cable TV providers, revealed in an FCC filing that the company "has found that wired network operators are charging the same backhaul rates for microcells, covering small areas, as they charge for connections to macrocells with much wider coverage and generally much heavier use." This pricing scheme, Sprint noted, "makes network expansion through microcells much more difficult."
If Sprint's experience is indicative for the whole industry it could put a damper on the widespread deployment of small cells. Already backhaul is one of the biggest costs to wireless operators, and it's unlikely that they are going to relish the idea of their backhaul costs skyrocketing.
Of course, the main reason for Sprint's filing with the FCC was to point out concerns that it has with Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) proposed purchase of AWS spectrum from cable companies. Sprint said that while it hasn't publicly opposed the acquisition, it is concerned about the impact that the bilateral commercial agreements Verizon is drawing up with each cable firm may have on Sprint's business if regulatory restrictions are not mandated.
But analysts say that operators have choices when it comes to backhauling traffic from their small cells. In general, analysts agree that wireless backhaul--which analyst firm Infonetics defines as microwave, millimeter wave and licensed non-line of sight (NLOS)--may be the best option.
Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst at Infonetics, said that there are currently a number of request for proposals being circulated by large U.S. operators that are planning to use wireless technologies for their small cell backhaul. "The operators we have spoken with said that about 80 percent of their small cells will be connected using three types of wireless backhaul--microwave, millimeter wave and licensed non-line of sight," Howard said.
He added that this is a big change for U.S. operators. Currently, only about 10 percent of macrocells are using wireless backhaul to backhaul traffic. The vast majority of traffic from macrocells is currently backhauled over fiber.
Paolini added that she expects only a small percentage of small cells to have fiber backhaul, and those sites will likely be in dense urban environments. She said that in urban areas where small cells will help operators make better use of their spectrum, there will likely be fiber connections. And depending upon the network configuration, operators could connect a local network of small cells to a macrocell or another aggregation point and then backhaul that traffic over fiber, which would be more cost effective.
Interestingly, Howard said that many small startups are pursuing these large operator RFPs for small cell backhaul because they have developed cost-effective wireless backhaul technologies.
After decades of relying on fiber for backhaul, it appears that wireless operators are finally turning to wireless backhaul to handle their small cell traffic. For wireless backhaul providers this business boom is long overdue--most have been trying to make inroads in the U.S. market for several years.
If you are interested in learning more about all aspects of backhaul, including small cell backhaul, check out the latest ebook from FierceWireless, "Making Backhaul Better." In this ebook we look at various challenges wireless operators' face when building their backhaul strategies. --Sue