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November 04, 2010

Bandwidth Intensive Mobile Services and the Importance of Backhaul

By David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor

Wireless backhaul is becoming an increasingly important component in carrier network infrastructures as carriers must meet the demand for new bandwidth intensive mobile services.

ECI Telecom’s (News - Alert) Product Marketing Manager Gil Epshtein and TMC’s Rich Tehrani recently discussed this market shift, including the “triple threat of competitive advantage” that can turn a backhaul network into a truly strategic asset, onapodcast available free from TMC (News - Alert).

The importance of backhaul today “boils down to two things,” Epshtein said. “Its cost and competitiveness. Cost is straightforward,” he noted, explaining that it made sense to install expensive legacy networks until now, since the revenue from mobile telephone and texting justified their existence.

However, he said, now with 3G and WiMax and such networks, operators are capable of offering much higher data rates and broadband services, and these require scaling back infrastructure dramatically. So the problem, as Epshtein sees it, is that “the revenue from these new services are not here yet. Cost challenges come to the front burners.”

The second consideration is competitiveness. A properly optimized backhaul network is a “triple threat,” he said, of competitive advantages in efficiency, performance and management, which results in maximum revenue, in minimizing the cost and increasing the customer satisfaction.”

This is the point in time, he said, when service providers realize that a properly-optimized backhaul network can have more benefits than just cost-effectiveness: “The backhaul networks become a truly strategic asset.”

And as for technical challenges in deploying backhaul networks, Epshtein said, the first issue is scalability. “You can cope with the tremendous growth in traffic, from both bandwidth and increased capacity.” He also mentioned the need for more base stations, to provide more bandwidth per subscriber.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

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