& cplSiteName &

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        ADD A COMMENT
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?
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders grills Cisco's Roland Acra on how he's bringing automation to life inside the data center.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
February 26-28, 2018, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
Project AirGig Goes Down to Georgia
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/13/2017
Here's Pai in Your Eye
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 12/11/2017
Verizon's New Fios TV Is No More
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 12/12/2017
Ericsson & Samsung to Supply Verizon With Fixed 5G Gear
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/11/2017
Juniper Turns Contrail Into a Platform for Multicloud
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 12/12/2017
Animals with Phones
Don't Fall Asleep on the Job! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed