As mobile data usage proliferates, so does the demand for capacity and coverage, particularly with the rise of connected devices, data-hungry mobile apps, video streaming, LTE roll-outs and the popularity of the smartphone and other smart devices. With mobile data traffic expected to double annually, existing mobile backhaul networks are being asked to handle more data than they were ever designed to cope with, and operators are being asked to deal with a level of capacity demand far greater than ever could have been imagined.
Breaking the backhaul bottleneck
The demand on operators to provide more, and faster, services for the same costs is putting mobile backhaul networks under intense pressure, and effectively means the operator ARPU (Average Revenue per User) is in decline. iGR Research Company has confirmed that the demand on mobile backhaul networks in the US market will increase 9.7 times between 2011 and 2016, fueled by rapidly growing data consumption, faster than operators can keep up with. Surging data traffic is stressing existing connections and forcing many operators to invest in their network infrastructures in order to remain competitive and minimize subscriber churn.
Mobile operators realize that in order to meet capacity, coverage and performance demands, while raising their ARPU, they need to evolve their mobile backhaul networks to perform better and be more efficient. As the capacity and coverage demands accumulate, mobile backhaul evolution comes to the forefront as an area that operators must address and align with growing demand.
Evolution not revolution
As wireless technologies have developed over the years, a mixture of transmission technologies and interfaces to Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment have been utilized to support communications back to the mobile network operator, including 2G, 3G and now 4G LTE. Today, operators evolve their backhaul by converging multiple backhaul technologies into one unified technology and converging multiple parallel backhaul networks into a single all-IP network. Based on IP and MPLS, having one, all-IP network makes more efficient use of network resources, reduces operational costs, and is cheaper to manage and maintain. IP gives operators the ability to converge RAN traffic and MPLS technology addresses the challenge of
Source: A Knowledge Network Article by the Broadband Forum http://www.totaltele.com/view.aspx?C=1&ID=487671