Carriers to spend $1B on small cell backhaul by 2017 says Mobile Experts

Market research firm Mobile Experts has issued a forecast predicting that carriers will spend as much as $1 billion by 2017 to backhaul the femtocells, picocells, microcells, and metrocells needed to support next-generation wireless services. Fiber-based mobile backhaul technology may miss out on most of this outlay, the company suggests.

Market research firm Mobile Experts has issued a forecast predicting that carriers will spend as much as $1 billion by 2017 to backhaul the femtocells, picocells, microcells, and metrocells needed to support next-generation wireless services. Fiber-based mobile backhaul technology may miss out on most of this outlay, the company suggests.

"Fiber-optic cable is the ideal solution, but is almost never available in the right places for high-capacity small cells," explained Dr. Jonathan Wells, principal analyst at Mobile Experts. "We expect the early small cell market to use RF backhaul below 6 GHz, to address the initial market requirements for throughput below about 80 Mbps. However, by 2016 we expect significant adoption of multiband small cells with embedded WiFi and much higher throughput requirements in the backhaul. We anticipate an additional market segment where high-throughput millimeter-wave backhaul links will be required."

Mobile Experts notes that semiconductor developers currently face the dilemma of creating chips that balance low cost with high throughput performance. These devices will be used in both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint systems. “Our analysis indicates that the cost of wireless backhaul will reach the tipping point in 2015, making small cell deployment possible at a large scale," said Dr. Wells.

The new 85-page Backhaul for Small Cells forecast and report provides multiple economic case studies that highlight the impact of various backhaul technologies on overall small cell viability. It also offers technical and deployment details that describe the various backhaul options.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.


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