Microwave Journal

Optimizing Millimeter-Wave System Design to Boost Network Performance While Reducing Costs

June 12, 2010

The Mobile Broadband Explosion

While the HSPA air-interface and the core network allow true mobile broadband user experience, the backhaul network is not designed to cope with the increased traffic demand. The capacity bottleneck in mobile networks has shifted from the access, (air-interface), to the backhaul network. The current design of backhaul networks limits the data speeds that mobile users can experience on their HSPA-enabled handhelds, which in turn impair their user experience of mobile broadband services.

While subscriber demand for capacity-intensive services exponentially increases, the cost of keeping these backhaul networks up-to-pars, is resulting in a decrease in the operators revenues. Already, backhaul accounts for approximately one-third of the total cost of ownership (TCO). Operators need a new backhaul solution designed for cost efficiency that will allow them to upgrade their backhaul network to support the growing demand while keeping TCO at a level that will enable them to generate revenues.

Equipment Cost and Operating Cost

The use of microwave wireless links for mobile backhaul is well established. Wireless technology serves more than 70% of the backhaul links in Europe. When utilized in dense urban environments, millimeter-wave (mm-wave) technology shares many of the qualities that made microwave technology a success and provides additional advantages due to unique hardware characteristics.