Next-Generation Cellular Backhaul

Wireless standards and spectrum auctions enable incredible bandwidth availability. The advances in modulation schemes (multiple input/multiple output [MIMO], orthogonal frequency division multiplexing [OFDM]) and system spectral efficiencies combined with the significant amount of spectrum now dedicated to the 3.5G/4G services leads to an aggregate radio bandwidth available to/from cell sites between 50 and 300 Mbps. Delivering this sort of bandwidth with physical T1/E1s is not only impractical, the combined bandwidth will likely exceed the theoretical bandwidth available on all the copper pairs delivered to the tower.

This paper assesses technology options available for wireless backhaul and examines the pros and cons of the various backhaul architectures, the Ethernet services options, and the existing operation, administration, and management (OAM) strategies and standards. In conclusion, the paper offers a practical strategy for implementing a wireless backhaul service assurance strategy based on the assessment provided.

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