Sponsored By

AT&T Turns to DOCSIS for Small Cell Backhaul

Carrier's AVP of small cells says it working with cable companies to lease their backhaul, and is already in deployment in some enterprise use cases.

Sarah Thomas

June 10, 2014

2 Min Read
AT&T Turns to DOCSIS for Small Cell Backhaul

Despite reservations about cable's small-cells-as-a-service model, AT&T is working with multiple cable companies to test DOCSIS backhaul solutions in a variety of use cases.

Gordon Mansfield, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s AVP of Small Cell Solutions, says the carrier is exploring ways to work with cable companies to lease existing backhaul capacity. The carrier is still testing some use cases, but is in the deployment phase, he says, especially in the enterprise. (See Know Your Small Cell: Home, Enterprise, or Public Access?)

"We certainly use cable in some deployments," Mansfield tells Light Reading. "We have tested in some outdoor locations as well."

Backhaul, as well as site acquisition, remains the biggest challenge in small cell deployments, Mansfield says, which is why AT&T is open to working with cable companies. He has said in the past that it gets complicated in terms of who deploys, owns, and runs the small cell, but it's clear the operator is being flexible in its deployment strategy. (See Small Cells as a Service? Not So Fast, MSOs....)

"You have to look at all options -- cable, VDSL, wireless -- you have to look at the lowest cost that meets your engineering requirements," Mansfield says. "By doing that, you have multiple options depending on the geographic area you then have available."

AT&T has also been the most vocal about deploying multimode small cells that combine 3G and LTE. Mansfield said to expect these multi-standard small cells to hit the market in "very late 2014 to early 2015 when the ecosystem from chips through products" is ready. So far, it has deployed 3G HSPA+ small cells and is planning LTE single-mode small cells next. (See AT&T Gets 'Opportunistic' With 4G Small Cells and AT&T Readies LTE-Only Small Cells, Eyes Multimode by 2015.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like