Microwave Journal

LTE Ready Backhaul

February 25, 2009

Long Term Evolution (LTE), the new standard for air interface for wireless handhelds, is the current “buzz” in mobile corridors, and as its name suggests, it will most likely continue to attract interest for a long time to come.

While many industry professionals tend to focus on LTE Access networks – and more specifically on spectrum allocation for new LTE services – it is also important to look at the evolution of the mobile backhaul network; the very network that will eventually carry the increasing broadband traffic.

Of the three main transport technologies in the backhaul arena - fiber, copper and wireless point-to-point microwave - the latter is perhaps the most important to look at. Used in over 50% of all mobile backhaul deployments worldwide (and nearly 70% outside the U.S.A.), point-to-point microwave systems offer simple and cost efficient backhauling for voice and high-speed data services. That’s because point-to-point microwave supports higher data rates than copper T1/E1 lines, and easily overcomes the high cost and limited availability associated with fiber.