Light Reading
Sprint Nextel VP explains why the operator needs more horsepower behind its '4G' network at LR Live show

Sprint Eyes WiMax Backhaul

Dan Jones
9/21/2006
50%
50%

NEW YORK -- When Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) starts to roll out WiMax in Chicago and Washington, D.C., at the end of 2007 it is also considering using the wireless technology as a cost-effective way of providing backhaul for the new broadband networks.

At the jam-packed "Backhaul Strategies for Mobile Operators" Light Reading Live show in New York City on Thursday afternoon, Ali Afrashteh, VP of access technologies for Sprint Nextel, expanded on the reasons behind the carrier's move to WiMax and how the technology also forms part of its strategy to move to "alternative" methods for linking wireless networks to wired switching centers.

The VP told the crowd at the Westin Hotel in Times Square that Sprint Nextel, the third largest wireless operator in the U.S., is currently using T1 lines for 99 percent of its backhaul tasks and "about 1 percent" uses other technologies.

"T1 is like pizza -- you order it, you get it," Afrashteh quipped. "The problem is, you order it for dinner and you get it for lunch next day, it's cold, there's no topping, and there's only one store you can get it from -- and that's Pizza Hut."

Sprint Nextel is already planning to use its massive domininance in the 2.5GHz spectrum band -- the operator has 85 percent of the band in the 100 top markets in the U.S. -- to provide high-speed WiMax services across the country by the end of 2008. Afrashteh says that Sprint is very interested at looking at using the technology for backhaul as well. "Alternative backhaul is important to us."

Putting in WiMax backhaul for its so-called "4G" technology could also translate into cost savings for its legacy cellular networks over time. "Absolutely, whatever we use for our 4G we can use for iDEN and CDMA, that's part of our plan and that's how we save -- eventually," said Afrashteh.

Afrashteh stressed a couple of times during his speech that WiMax wasn't the only alternative that the operator was looking at for backhaul. A good portion of his presentation and the majority of the questions from the crowd, however, focused on the wireless metropolitan area standard.

The VP says Sprint will use a whopping 30MHz of spectrum to deploy WiMax in the two test markets at the end of 2007: "We're initially using 30MHz of spectrum [that's 3 channels of 10Mhz] -- otherwise we are worried that WiMax will not work on the edge of the cell." The operator has so much bandwidth in the band that Afrashteh says that he is also considering using another 30MHz for backhaul. "We can use another 30MHz for backhaul -- not everywhere, but we can do that."

Compare this to the operator's current CDMA EV-DO high-speed technology, which uses a single 1.25MHz channel for voice and data transmissions, although some variants band together more channels for more horsepower. "When you want to start with the big bandwidths it is very hard to be in CDMA."

Afrashteh says Sprint needs this kind of bandwidth for access and backhaul in order to be able to start to offer mobile broadband at prices that make it attractive as a cable replacement. "People will only pay so much for mobility," he told us after the show.

It is also clear that Sprint hasn't quite settled on how it will use WiMax as a backhaul technology. Initially, Afrashteh says, the carrier is looking at using 802.16d fixed WiMax -- possibly modified to reduce packet jitter and delay -- alongside its mobile network. It may, however, move to 802.16e if the price drops as manufacturing volumes ramp up.

The company has also been examining the use of mesh for both access and backhaul on the same network. "We are testing mesh in Houston, we're doing it in Virginia, we're doing it in Kansas City," he says.

Whatever happens, the company is hoping to move -- albeit slowly -- away from its T1 habit in the next five years. Afrashteh wants to have 10 to 20 percent WiMax backhaul in the mix by then -- "particularly in the larger markets."

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Dredgie
50%
50%
Dredgie,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:39:57 AM
re: Sprint Eyes WiMax Backhaul
Anyone know?
ramsu
50%
50%
ramsu,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:55 AM
re: Sprint Eyes WiMax Backhaul
Motorola is a major vendor for this rollout. Dunno who else is in there.
OldPOTS
50%
50%
OldPOTS,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:52 AM
re: Sprint Eyes WiMax Backhaul
Backhaul for wireless networks is a significant part of a wireless networks cost. Can't count the times that I've been asked to address this issue over the years. Here is a real oppertunity for those VCs.

No-OP
apac_fiber
50%
50%
apac_fiber,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:51 AM
re: Sprint Eyes WiMax Backhaul
PWE3 or something else?

jcrawshaw
50%
50%
jcrawshaw,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:51 AM
re: Sprint Eyes WiMax Backhaul
Motorola and Samsung.
alchemy
50%
50%
alchemy,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:49 AM
re: Sprint Eyes WiMax Backhaul
With the Sprint/MSO joint venture, one can imagine that Sprint will also get access to MSO data networks either through T1 pseudowire over DOCSIS, direct DOCSIS IP connectivity using a cable modem, or technology du jour over fiber. You would think that WiMax would mostly be used to get from the tower to the closest point of presence for an MSO. That coax has power on it to run amplifiers so it can also power strand-mounted WiMax gear with little directional antennas pointed towards the tower.
rjmcmahon
50%
50%
rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:49 AM
re: Sprint Eyes WiMax Backhaul
re:With the Sprint/MSO joint venture, one can imagine that Sprint will also get access to MSO data networks either through T1 pseudowire over DOCSIS, direct DOCSIS IP connectivity using a cable modem, or technology du jour over fiber.

What's been holding this back to date? Sprint's needed a second source backhauls for awhile now. Why haven't the MSO's responded by now?
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Is your network built on 'The Old IP,' or are you part of 'The New IP' revolution?
LRTV Documentaries
A Cultural Shift for an OTT World

9|26|14   |   01:41   |   (3) comments


Telcos need to embrace a new approach to partnerships if they are to generate extra revenues quickly and give customers what they want.
LRTV Documentaries
New Skills Needed as Telecom, IT Collide

9|26|14   |   4:07   |   (1) comment


As telecom and IT collide, new technologies are emerging, new skills are needed and new opportunities for women are arising.
UBB Forum News
Do IP Networks Need An Overhaul?

9|25|14   |   02:01   |   (0) comments


As traffic levels ramp, do IP networks need new technologies and topologies?
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley

9|25|14   |   3:09   |   (10) comments


Anne-Louise Kardas, Sprint's connection to startups in the Valley, explains how telcos can be innovative and find new opportunities with partners.
LRTV Documentaries
SDN, NFV & The Future of XO's Network

9|25|14   |   3:47   |   (0) comments


XO Communications COO Don MacNeil explains how cloud, SDN and NFV are altering its network requirements as well as changing data centers of the future.
UBB Forum News
The OTT Conundrum

9|24|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


What is holding back prosperous partnerships between telcos and the OTT players?
LRTV Documentaries
Putting Broadband to Work

9|24|14   |   01:26   |   (0) comments


High-speed broadband network rollout is key to telco strategies, but it's what happens after the network is built that counts.
Light Reedy
Light Reading's Women in Telecom Recap

9|24|14   |   0:55   |   (4) comments


Our first Women in Telecom breakfast was a huge success, and we hope you'll join us in London for the next event on November 6.
UBB Forum News
Monetizing Ultra-Broadband

9|24|14   |   01:43   |   (2) comments


Ultra-broadband networks need to be built, with fiber-to-the-premises the ultimate goal, but they need to be monetized, too.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Media Solutions Are Here to Stay

9|19|14   |   4:35   |   (0) comments


The current media revolution requires rapid upgrades in technology. New formats (HD, 3D, 4K etc.) and the subsequent explosion of file sizes demand sophisticated network and storage architecture. Social media and the multiple distribution channels require a robust asset management system. Gartner analyst Venecia Liu speaks about the current technological trends in ...
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Half of the world's population will be connected to the Internet by 2017, but not just by smartphones and desktops.
Hot Topics
Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
US Ignite Cultivates Gigabit Apps
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/25/2014
Is Redbox Instant Shutting Down?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/30/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed