Five key challenges to improving LTE network backhaul speed - and how to solve them: Page 2 of 3

February 10, 2014 // By Mark Barrett, Blu Wireless
Five key challenges to improving LTE network backhaul speed - and how to solve them
The move to LTE brings great improvements in connection speeds (30 Mbps typical) but it also brings a costly problem with it; the need to greatly uprate mobile network backhaul speeds. Today’s average backhaul capacity is 35 Mbps per cell and this needs to increase to approximately 1 Gbps per cell in just five years to support the predicted mobile data growth.

station are less than 1 Gbps; a link using a relatively low-order modulation, such as QPSK, can typically accommodate this.

Doing so is not only robust, it also allows you to future-proof the system, extending the data rate through the deployment of higher order modulation modes in future versions.

One alternative is to increase the radio link budget through the use of reduced channel bandwidth. For example, for each halving of the channel bandwidth the receiver sensitivity is improved by an additional 3 dB.

A flexible baseband architecture allows this scaling of frequency channel bandwidth thus enabling an increase in range, and providing a means of coping with differing operator scenarios.

4) Creating data packets for mesh networks

Data packetisation is controlled via the MAC function and it is not possible to simply use the standard WiGig MAC for LTE backhaul.

Indeed, data packetisation for LTE backhaul is particularly challenging and unlike standard P2P (peer-peer) networks, the wireless mesh networks used to transmit data between points add an extra level of complexity and each small cell needs to know if it is merely relaying – via the backhaul connection to another cell – or transmitting, via the mobile network to the phone.

For the time being there is no fixed standard – at Blu Wireless we are currently co-operating with several equipment vendors and operators to ensure our IP complies universally – but one solution is to use the OpenFlow standard as a MAC framework to define an industry-standard backhaul API.

5) Coping with the elements

LTE backhaul small cells will be positioned on lampposts and other street furniture and are therefore at the mercy of both the elements… and accidents.

The new FCC rules stipulate a narrow antenna beam width (under 0.4 degrees) and, as small cells for LTE backhaul transmit over distances of several hundred metres, even a position change of a fraction of degree will affect the

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