Fastback and Sub10 look to create a high-frequency radio backhaul system for a 5G future.

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

March 17, 2015

3 Min Read
Fastback & Sub10 Merge for Millimeter Future

Fastback Networks and Sub10 Systems are merging to try to address the need for new backhaul capabilities for LTE and future 5G networks.

In the cellular world, the backhaul portion of the network connects the cell sites to the backbone network. As 3G and 4G have evolved over the last few years with much more data flowing over mobile networks, the speed and capacity of the backhaul links have become crucial to the overall performance of the network. (See CTIA 2010: Backhaul's Big in Vegas.)

Fastback Networks and Sub10 Systems Ltd. are anticipating that the requirements for backhaul are just going to get more complex as LTE advances and 5G networks start to arrive around 2020. (See Growth of the 5G Ecosystem.)

To achieve faster and faster data speeds, the pair anticipate that radio networks will need to be built denser and denser with smaller nodes closer together. In turn, this will require more backhaul links to shuttle the packets around. (See 10 Unusual Places to Stick a Small Cell.)

For more on 5G, visit the 5G section here on Light Reading.

Fastback and Sub10 anticipate that this trend will mean that operators and enterprises will need to use more fast radio links for backhaul to ease costs and simplify dense deployments.

The companies specifically work on sub-6GHz and millimeter wave radio links. Millimeter wave radios ride on the frequencies between 30GHz and 300GHz. (See Helping Millimeter Wave Achieve Its Potential and 60GHz: A Frequency to Watch.)

"The new Fastback Networks has decent funding, a broader portfolio and more sales and marketing muscle to drive the company," Heavy Reading Chief Analyst Patrick Donegan notes in an email on the merger. He writes:

  • Critically, across its integrated product line, the new Fastback is seeing traction with macro-cellular backhaul as well as enterprise connectivity. Hence it is quite a bit less dependent on the pain-wreaking outdoor small cell backhaul market than either company was as an independent entity. They may take a while to come to fruition but the leadership team also has its sights set on a long term product roadmap for yielding significant product synergies.

Fastback and Sub10 say they already have systems deployed with Tier 1 operators. They note that one of the aims of the merger is to create a "hybrid" backhaul system that offers line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight connection capabilities and can support multiple frequencies.

The merged company's competitors in this space include BridgeWave Communications and Bluwan S.A. , amongst others.

"In a market which is going to see a lot of consolidation and failures, it's important to be among the first to consolidate," Heavy Reading's Donegan says. "In doing so, this merger is going to exert significant additional pressure on Fastback's competitors in the independent wireless backhaul and wireless broadband connectivity space."

Terms of the merger were not disclosed.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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