& cplSiteName &

Sprint's Backhaul Bottleneck

Dan Jones
CTIA News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
4/3/2008
50%
50%

LAS VEGAS -- CTIA Wireless 2008 -- Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s delayed April launch of its inital Xohm WiMax markets comes down to a lack of backhaul horsepower, as the operator confirmed on Tuesday. Vendors here, however, expect that Sprint could have WiMax services up and running by autumn.

Sprint's backhaul problems are said to be a matter of lack of bandwidth to the WiMax cellsites, which are expected to pump in and out several megabits per second at launch, providing high-speed broadband links to 802.16e cards and other devices. Sprint CTO Barry West confirmed to Unstrung on Tuesday night that backhaul was "an issue." (See Sprint Quiet on WiMax Launch Date.)

The operator has been using T1 arrays but wants to rent more fiber and use Local Multipoint Distribution System (LMDS) microwave links to provide 20 Mbit/s or so of backend muscle for the WiMax sites, according to a vendor at the show.

Wireless network throughput is only as good as the connection to the wired network, as many home users have found when plugging new 100 Mbit/s-plus pre-802.11n wireless LAN routers into their DSL. The WiFi can be slowed by its weakest link. The same holds true for larger wireless networks.

Sprint has been trying to move away from using T1 lines for backhaul for some time now. It said in 2006 that it was searching for alternatives to its near-ubiquitous T1 links. The problem for the operator will likely be that while T1 is relatively cheap and easy, fiber is more costly, something it can ill-afford at the moment. (See How Is T1 Like a Pizza? and Sprint to Cut 4,000 Jobs.)

The word at the show, however, is that this is a temporary blip and that Sprint is expected to have markets up and running in the fall, if not earlier. Sprint has steadfastly refused to name a new date for its commercial Xohm launch and didn't return calls and emails for comment on a possible autumn launch.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First        ADD A COMMENT
Mr Finance
50%
50%
Mr Finance,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:44:15 PM
re: Sprint's Backhaul Bottleneck
Unstrung, shame on you for glibly re-reporting Sprint's excuses without even the slightest hint of journalistic questioning. The idea that Sprint has been suddenly taken by surprise by the fact that 4G sites might need more backhaul than a T1 is frankly laughable. And given they like the rest of the industry are in the midst of a nationwide program to upgrade backhaul at existing cellsites, it's pretty easy to order a few extra microwave backhaul radios for their 4G sites. Methinks the delay relates to the WiMAX part of the equation in some way (presumably limited availablity of device chipsets or network instability) and Sprint is just protecting the WiMAX brand with as utterly boring an excuse as they can think off (cf. the negative advertising job done to WCDMA when the Joe public media picked up the '3G doesn't work' story after initial delays).
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
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 22, 2018, Denver, Colorado | Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 28, 2018, Kansas City Convention Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
April 9, 2018, Las Vegas Convention Center
May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
May 14, 2018, Brazos Hall, Austin, Texas
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Has Europe Switched to a Fiber Diet? Not Yet...
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 2/15/2018
Will China React to Latest US Huawei, ZTE Slapdown?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 2/16/2018
Net Neutrality: States' Rights vs. the FCC
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/13/2018
IBM, Microsoft Duke It Out Over Chief Diversity Hire
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 2/15/2018
5G: The Density Question
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/15/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed