Rethinking 5G Microcell Backhaul to Deliver Superior Customer Experiences

Data traffic on mobile networks is growing by leaps and bounds. The continued success of mobile phone networks depends on the industry’s ability to deliver the capacity to meet tomorrow’s demand. Backhaul links from new 5G microcells to the network backbone are a critical component because they must carry the aggregate traffic for multiple high-speed users. This white paper describes how to ensure affordable, high-performance backhaul links for every 5G microcell.

Not all backhaul solutions are up to the challenge. Fiber optic cable is in one way an ideal solution. A single fiber strand has 1,000 times the bandwidth of the entire usable radio spectrum. Unfortunately, the use of fiber is often not practical due to prohibitive installation costs and the time required to obtain permits and complete construction. Wireless backhaul using millimeter wave spectrum has sufficient capacity, is potentially less expensive, and can be deployed quickly. This is why Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB), the use of new millimeter wave spectrum for both 5G access and backhaul, is being incorporated in the 5G standards. However, not all IAB solutions are equal: some entail significant performance or cost trade-offs.

Kumu Networks’ Self-Interference Cancellation (SIC) technology is the only solution that completely and simultaneously reuses the access spectrum for backhaul, enabling true “self-backhaul” and increasing network capacity. Unlike other IAB schemes, Kumu Networks’ solution does not compromise performance by dividing the 5G microcell’s wireless capacity between access and backhaul, and avoids using twice the spectrum resources at twice the price.

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