Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LTE Backhaul

Let me start by wishing you all a very happy diwali.

Long back I wrote about MPLS being considered as backhaul for LTE. I believe it is still the choice. More random thoughts on the same below.

Many have said that with LTE bandwidths will explode, infact I say even with HSPA the bandwidths will explode. Lets not look at this from GPRS or UMTS or LTE perspective. The simple logic is if there are many users even with GPRS, bandwidth will explode if the link between SGSN and GGSN is thin. What is happening now is there is only one IP link in wireless core network, so there is not much emphasis on it. The case is same with HSPA. With LTE there are several IP links, devices that run on IP have increased and more over relation between these devices is many to many. The wireless core architecture is moving close towards the wired architecture.

Many IP devices bring in a Central management unit along with various OAM tools. So if Verizon wants to deploy LTE, how is it going to choose the EPC vendors. I dont think using MME from from NSN and SGW from ALU will be a good idea. This also means that EPC solution providers should also come up with Central management units for their devices. One place to configure and monitor the devices.

Next challenge is to keep up the service level agreements and end user quality of experience. This is very very challenging. I will touch base on this pretty soon.

Another challenge is the actual backhaul it self. While the fiber will be widely used there are other backhaul techniques like microwave and copper. I am not sure how many microwave links we will see, but yes, there are some solutions based on these links deployed and are running fine.

Next point is infrastructure sharing. Atleast in India I have seen BSNL lending its network to private operators. The same can be done with LTE.

Quite a few things lined up, it would interesting to see how they will shape up.

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