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Wireless Backhaul for Small Cells: Who's Doing What
Operators recognize the need to deploy small cells to add network capacity if the current trend of phenomenal data traffic growth continues. Vendor studies, such as the Ericsson Mobility Report and Cisco's Visual Networking Index, show mobile data growing at alarming rates.

To keep up with the rate of mobile traffic growth, operators have many options for network improvement, such as increasing macro base station capacity, adding new macrocells or microcells, acquiring additional spectrum, or deploying more efficient radio access technologies like Long Term Evolution (LTE) or LTE-Advanced (LTE-A). In addition, small cells will form part of the strategy to add capacity, improve coverage and, ultimately, stay ahead of the network traffic surge.

Since the definition of small cells varies widely across the industry, it is important to clarify that the term "public access small cell" in this report refers to the type of low-power, cellular base station that operates in licensed spectrum, which can also include Wi-Fi support, and is intended to be deployed indoors or outdoors and operated and managed by operators.

The focus of this report is wireless backhaul options for outdoor, public access small cells. That means the fixed-line backhaul for indoor, enterprise small cells, as well as residential femtocells, fall outside the scope of the report.

Obvious though it sounds, the wireless backhaul opportunity for outdoor small cells depends on the size of the public access small cell market. But the small cell market is difficult to nail down because each mobile operator has a different small cell plan based on its own coverage and capacity needs, as well as traffic and subscriber growth forecasts. This is partly due to the fact that operators' spectrum holdings for mobile access are not equal. Those with less spectrum for LTE, for example, are likely to turn to small cells sooner than those that can leverage their spectrum assets to add capacity to their macrocell networks.

Recent product and technology developments have flooded operators with many candidates that aim to match those requirements. Operators are in a trial and evaluation phase for small cell backhaul. Therefore, it is too soon to identify which type of wireless backhaul and which frequency bands will emerge as the dominant solutions. And given that operators want a "toolkit" of small cell backhaul technologies, it is difficult to see a significant opportunity for any one wireless technology at this stage. Rather, the market will remain a mixed bag for some time.

Wireless Backhaul for Small Cells: Who's Doing What covers wireless backhaul options for outdoor, public access small cells, because this segment of the market has been a hotbed of innovation recently and it's the most challenging to get right. The report covers the main challenges of small cell backhaul and the technology and spectrum options that are available. It identifies 16 new companies, as well as new service provider business models that have emerged to address the small cell backhaul challenge. Finally, the report profiles the small cell backhaul strategies of 11 wireless backhaul vendors.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (4gltei0813_toc_2.pdf)
The nature of the small cell backhaul challenge has changed over the last 18-24 months. Previously, the main problem was a lack of solutions. Now, there are more solutions than operators' can realistically use and the challenge is to determine which products work cost effectively and when they can be ready for commercial deployment.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies profiled in this report include: Airspan Networks (OTC Pink: AIRO); Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU); Aviat Networks; Cambridge Broadband Networks Ltd.; Ceragon Networks Ltd. (Nasdaq: CRNT); DragonWave Inc.; Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC); Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.; Intracom Telecom; NEC Corp. (TYO: 6701); and ZTE Corp. (SEHK: 0763).
Total pages: 18
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