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4G/3G/WiFi

Synching Up Small-Cell Backhaul

Synchronization specialist Symmetricom Inc. (Nasdaq: SYMM) has started a new industry group aimed at fostering the integration and interoperability of various timing systems for LTE small-cell backhaul networks.

The group falls within Symmetricom's existing SyncWorld ecosystem program. The first members in the new small-cell synchronization group are: Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), CS Holdings, Contela Inc. , Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Cavium Inc. (Nasdaq: CAVM), Mindspeed Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: MSPD), Qualcomm Atheros , Node-H GmbH and Rakon.

By coming together in this way, the members hope to minimize the complexity of backhaul synchronization in small cell networks for operators, which would ultimately save them time and money.

"Synchronization [for small cells] continues to be a challenge. ... The purpose of the ecosystem is to make that less of a challenge," says Manish Gupta, vice president of marketing and business development at Symmetricom.

Why this matters
Synchronization is one of major outstanding challenges for operators when it comes to deploying small cells, along with interference, security and backhaul. This ecosystem program aims to simplify and reduce the potential cost of backhaul synchronization for operators.

But synchronization for small cells comes into play mostly for those operators that decide their small cell networks need to be every bit as reliable as their macro networks, according to Heavy Reading 's backhaul expert, Patrick Donegan.

"Most operators are still deliberating whether their public access small cell layer will require synchronization. Those that use it as an offload layer for non-real-time traffic may not need synchronization, but those that expect the same performance from the small cell layer as the macrocell layer will need it," says Donegan.

"This is a logical extension of the SyncWorld Ecosystem Program from a focus on the synchronization requirements of the macro-cellular environment to embrace the small cell layer as well," adds the analyst.

For more


— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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