Ethernet supports growing cellular backhaul needs

MAY 27, 2009 -- In-Stat reports that more than half of cellular backhaul capacity will be Ethernet by the end of 2011.

MAY 27, 2009 -- While microwave will remain the most common last-mile link medium, Ethernet is playing an increasing role in supporting backhaul needs for cellular and WiMAX networks. More than half of cellular backhaul capacity will use Ethernet by the end of 2011, reports In-Stat (search Lightwave for In-Stat). The transition to Ethernet will vary by region, depending on where mobile operators are in their transition to 3G and LTE networks.

"Backhaul is getting renewed attention as mobile operators plan for a more data-intensive network," says Daryl Schoolar, In-Stat analyst. "The old voice-based solutions cannot support the growth in data traffic operators currently face."

Cellular backhaul provides the crucial link between the mobile operator's radio access network and its core network. Some of the key findings from In-Stat's new research include:

  • 90,000 Gbps of capacity in the last mile of the backhaul network will be needed by the end of 2013 to support the world's cellular and WiMAX networks.
  • In Asia Pacific, the cellular backhaul last-mile backhaul capacity for LTE will be 2,500 Gbps in 2013.
  • Scalability is very important for operators when selecting a backhaul technology. Operators want a clear and easy path to increase backhaul capacity.
  • For voice over Ethernet, operators are starting to focus on IEEE 1588v2 and Synchronous Ethernet.

Recent In-Stat research, "Big Pipes -- The Global Market for Cellular/WiMAX Backhaul (#IN0904603GW)," provides insight into the cellular and WiMAX backhaul market. This report includes the following:

  • brief overviews of key market vendors, including their strengths and weaknesses
  • overview of key market activities
  • five-year forecasts for cellular backhaul last-mile capacity
  • capacity forecast at the air interface level -- GSM, CDMA, HSPA, and LTE
  • five-year capacity forecasts for TDM and Ethernet in the cellular backhaul last mile
  • five-year capacity forecasts for copper/fiber and microwave in the cellular backhaul last mile
  • all cellular forecasts broken out into six regions -- North America, Asia/Pacific, Latin and South America/Caribbean, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Middle East/Africa
  • five-year capacity forecast for the WiMAX backhaul last mile

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