Small Cells Mean Big Backhaul Challenges
SDN and NFV may be garnering the most attention ahead of next week's Ethernet & SDN Expo (ESDN), but backhaul will likely be at the top of the event's hot topics list for the mobile operator executives who are counting on small cells to build their networks.
When it comes to small-cell backhaul, there is still a lot to discuss. In fact, Heavy Reading senior analyst Patrick Donegan told us most mobile operators are still working out how to get small cells out in the metro wide-area public access environment. Sure, they already have a lot deployed in homes and enterprises, but public access is a different beast. There are tremendous challenges in getting the costs right and in determining how to deploy packet technologies in mobile backhaul networks.
"From a radio planning perspective, the operators are intent on reusing the transport infrastructure they already have, which makes sense, but you can't just put the small cell wherever the existing backhaul infrastructure is," he said. "It doesn't work like that."
Rather, the backhaul needs to be extended to wherever the small cells are located, so operators have to map out new strategies. As they work through the challenges, Heavy Reading predicts the market will move slowly for the next few years. "There's a tremendous amount of work to be done," Donegan said.
With his guidance, the operators will be getting to work on the issues during ESDN. Donegan is hosting a panel Wednesday, Oct. 2, entitled, "Flexible Backhaul For A New Generation Of Public Access Small Cells." Executives from EXFO (Nasdaq: EXFO; Toronto: EXF), Overture Networks Inc. , ADVA Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) , and Canoga Perkins will join him to debate the hot topics in mobile backhaul, such as synchronization, G.8032 Ethernet ring protection switching, and NID integration. Because it's the ESDN Expo, you can count on software-defined backhaul networks to be addressed at some point.
ESDN opens its doors at the Javits Center in New York City on Wednesday, Oct. 2, the morning after Light Reading's Leading Lights Awards party. (See: Top 10 Reasons to Attend Ethernet & SDN Expo and Leading Lights 2013.)
In the meantime, check out our pre-show coverage on the Ethernet & SDN Expo show site.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading
Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Ethernet & SDN Expo, a Light Reading Live event that takes place Oct. 2-3, 2013 at the Javits Center in New York City. Co-located with Interop, Light Reading's Ethernet & SDN Expo will focus on how the convergence of Carrier Ethernet 2.0 with emerging carrier software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization technologies could change the whole telecom landscape for service providers. For more information, or to register, click here.