|By Jim Machi||
|July 19, 2011 12:00 PM EDT||
The rapid growth of smartphones, tablets and netbooks are forcing mobile service providers to consider how best to meet the growing demands for rich data services that are straining mobile network capacity and eroding proﬁts. Because their networks were originally designed for the low bandwidth requirements of voice trafﬁc, mobile service providers today have only a limited set of options for increasing capacity to accommodate data services. However, most of these options are expensive and often time-consuming to deploy, and include adding more leased lines, moving to ﬁber, increasing the microwave spectrum, and using Ethernet ring.
How can mobile service providers better design mobile backhaul networks to solve these issues? To answer this question, let's first dive into the many factors that shaped today's capacity requirements.
The Heart of the Issue
Service providers originally designed and built mobile backhaul networks for voice traffic. At the time, voice was the predominant service flowing through those networks and could be accommodated without too much difficulty and expense. But between 2005 and 2010, the situation changed. Voice average revenue per user (ARPU) began to decline, competition became intense among providers and bandwidth-hungry data services were introduced. Shortly thereafter, Apple's iPhone led the avalanche of smartphones that were designed to be the "gateway" to the Internet, and to the various streaming services that the Internet offered. This accelerated the development of 3G networks, and network designers had to scramble to keep up. The ever-increasing proliferation of these devices, and the data-hungry applications they use, placed heavy demands on these networks, creating the need for even more advanced networks to handle high-end services like video calling and mobile TV. Now, network designers are scrambling once again to build network solutions that alleviate these heavy demands on the network while providing an enhanced user experience.
How to Increase Backhaul Capacity
Increasing backhaul capacity is critical to alleviating demands on today's networks. Service providers and network designers have five options for increasing their backhaul capacity:
- Add more leased capacity to existing copper or fiber lines
Service providers can always lease more lines to help handle higher traffic, but leased-line charges can be extremely expensive - often the largest operational expense for service providers - eliminating this as a viable option for the long term.
- Roll out fiber
We're all dreaming of the day when we can lay down fiber everywhere without worrying about limits on bandwidth anymore. Again, the capital expenditure for this is monumental, and deployment takes a long time. In addition, laying fiber can be impractical and costly in both densely populated urban areas and sparse rural areas.
- Increase microwave spectrum
Upping microwave spectrum can increase bandwidth by about one-third, but creates two additional problems: (1) high cost from mandatory license fees and (2) occasionally scarce amounts of spectrum in certain parts of the world.
- Upgrade the SDH microwave to Ethernet ring
Upgrading the synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) microwave to Ethernet ring can double capacity, but its 256 QAM modulation scheme works only in clear weather and over short distances. However, both capital and operational expenses are very high, and upgrades can take several months in urban areas.
- Optimize streams in the backhaul segment
Optimizing bandwidth for streams in the backhaul segment of existing mobile networks, such as Abis (2G) and Iub (3G) streams, can be an attractive option for scaling mobile backhaul capacity from both a cost and network bandwidth perspective. Optimizing the mobile backhaul segment can typically double the bandwidth capacity at a significantly lower capital and operational cost than the above options. Best of all, deployment typically takes only a few days.
Figure 1: Backhaul in the Mobile Network
Backhaul Optimization: Meeting Demand Without Breaking the Bank
The most direct and cost-effective way to meet network demands is through backhaul optimization. Network designers have built today's networks by adding to existing infrastructure in a piecemeal fashion. True 4G networks, with all-IP structure, will require massive capital investments to become a reality.
However in today's environment, service providers and network designers must do the best they can with available resources to meet increasing demand - without breaking the bank. Mobile backhaul bandwidth optimization helps relieve these two issues:
- Timing: New features and services for mobile customers are being rolled out at an alarmingly high rate for designers. In just a few short years, consumers migrated from voice services to full-scale mobile broadband Internet. Now, technologies, like HD video calling, and various other forms of streaming high-resolution video are in high demand - with the next wave of new services just on the horizon.
The bottom line is that customers are adopting these new expanded services quickly and demand is increasing much more rapidly than many service providers can deliver them. Designers are left scrambling to upgrade networks as quickly as possible to handle these bandwidth-hungry services. Bandwidth optimization's rapid deployment addresses this time crunch directly.
- Expenses: True 4G technology, with its all-IP packet switches and 1 Gb/s data rates, requires a massive additional capital expenditure. Very few service providers can afford to uproot their entire existing networks. Instead, the mobile backhaul segment provides the perfect opportunity to meet increased demand, improve network performance and reduce expenditures for upgrade - helping to keep profits on the rise.
How to Optimize Mobile Backhaul Networks
Session bandwidth optimizers (SBO-MBs) for mobile backhaul are an effective means to optimize the backhaul segment of a mobile network. In fact, in field trials, SBO-MBs actually doubled a mobile service provider's backhaul capacity.
Figure 2: Session Bandwidth Optimizer Optimizing Various Streams in the Backhaul Segment of a Mobile Network
An SBO-MB is a standalone system that optimizes bandwidth in the backhaul segments of both asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) and IP-based streams. Because SBO-MBs are based on units placed within the current physical backhaul segment, it is not as disruptive or costly as other alternatives for increasing bandwidth capacity.
SBO-MBs monitor and maintain the key performance indicators (KPI) by which mobile backhaul infrastructure performance are measured. These include delay, jitter, bit error rate, and availability. Following the suggested KPIs is critical to maintaining high subscriber quality of experience (QoE) and to meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for voice and data services.
In addition, SBO-MBs leverage advanced bandwidth optimization, statistical multiplexing and grooming techniques that typically double the capacity on backhaul links - significantly increasing speed for the end user. Moreover, this method preserves the quality and integrity of the original data traffic. By combining sophisticated optimization with Quality of Service (QoS) protection techniques, these devices can provide CAPEX and OPEX savings for a mobile operator's backhaul segment while increasing backhaul capacity.
On the input end, an SBO-MB optimizes 2G, 3G, native IP, or pulse-code modulation (PCM) streams and transmits a combined optimized stream over time-division multiplexing (TDM) and/or Ethernet. On the other end of the backhaul segment at the radio network controller (RNC)/binary synchronous communications (BSC) site, a second SBO-MB receives the optimized stream, restores the original streams (2G, 3G, IP, or PCM), and provides them to the RNC, BSC, or other networks as appropriate.
Some of the additional functionality SBO-MBs provide includes:
- Abis optimization for 2G networks
- ATM and IP-based optimization for 3G networks
- Auto detection of Abis and ATM-based streams
- Pseudo-wire capability (TDM services over IP, SAToP, CESoPSN)
- Timing over packets (TOPSync, IEEE1588v2, SyncE)
TOPSync is extremely important for timing synchronization between the base transceiver station (BTS)/Node B and the BTS/RNC when they are connected over a packet segment because the cell tower and the BSC/RNC need to be in close synchronization for correct intercell handoffs that eliminate dropped calls.
Along with optimizing mobile streams, an SBO-MB can optimize PCM streams from TDM networks and native IP streams (from an IP-PBX, for example).
SBO-MBs also have several additional benefits:
- Wide range of deployment architectures: SBO-MBs support numerous network topologies, including Point-to-Point (PTP), Point-to-Multi-Point (PTMP), ring, drop-and-continue, and many others.
- Data-offload configuration: SBO-MBs can use overlay to separate the 2G voice/data and 3G voice/signaling from the high-speed packet access (HSPA) data offload path.
- Carrier-grade reliability in a small footprint: SBO-MBs provide carrier-grade reliability in a 1 RU chassis, unparalleled in the industry, for significant CAPEX savings.
- Leading transmission standards: SBO-MBs support a variety of transmission technologies, including TDM, IP, and Ethernet. Support for multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) is planned.
A Glance into the Future
While we don't know specifically what the future holds, one thing that's clear is that consumers will continue to demand innovative and quality services. In order to keep up with this demand, service providers and network designers must cost-effectively increase network capacity while providing users with the high quality that is expected of today's applications and services.
Although there are several options for augmenting network capacity, session bandwidth optimizers provide the most cost-effective option for doing so on a mobile network by simply optimizing the backhaul segment. Session bandwidth optimizers deliver services that encourage customer retention as well as attract new customers but, more important, they provide the additional bandwidth to service this growing number of subscribers - now and in the future.
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
Jul. 24, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,339
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Jul. 24, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,012
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.
Jul. 24, 2016 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,537
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
Jul. 24, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,718
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Jul. 24, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 885
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Jul. 24, 2016 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,666
Traditional IT, great for stable systems of record, is struggling to cope with newer, agile systems of engagement requirements coming straight from the business. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, William Morrish, General Manager of Product Sales at Interoute, outlined ways of exploiting new architectures to enable both systems and building them to support your existing platforms, with an eye for the future. Technologies such as Docker and the hyper-convergence of computing, networking and sto...
Jul. 24, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,001
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Jul. 24, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 752
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, discussed the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filterin...
Jul. 24, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,185
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Jul. 24, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 804
Early adopters of IoT viewed it mainly as a different term for machine-to-machine connectivity or M2M. This is understandable since a prerequisite for any IoT solution is the ability to collect and aggregate device data, which is most often presented in a dashboard. The problem is that viewing data in a dashboard requires a human to interpret the results and take manual action, which doesn’t scale to the needs of IoT.
Jul. 24, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,872
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jul. 24, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,885
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
Jul. 24, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,024
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Jul. 24, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,308
Much of IT terminology is often misused and misapplied. Modernization and transformation are two such terms. They are often used interchangeably even though they mean different things and have very different connotations. Indeed, it is somewhat safe to assume that in IT any transformative effort is likely to also have a modernizing effect, and thus, we can see these as levels of improvement efforts. However, many businesses are being led to believe if they don’t transform now they risk becoming ...
Jul. 24, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,108
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Jul. 24, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,792
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Jul. 24, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,080
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
Jul. 24, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 910
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Jul. 24, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,067
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
Jul. 24, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,473