|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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accelerate their digital channels with APIs, drive partner adoption, monetize their assets, and achieve a...
Oct. 31, 2014 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,117
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
Oct. 31, 2014 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,193
SYS-CON Events announced today that AgilePoint, the leading provider of Microsoft-centric Business Process Management software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 2nd International @ThingsExpo which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. AgilePoint is the leading provider of Microsoft-based Business Process Management (BPM) software products, has 1,300+ on-premise and cloud deployments in 25+ countries and provides the same advanced BPM feature set as J2EE vendors like IBM and Appian for the Microsoft .NET native environment. AgilePoint customer...
Oct. 31, 2014 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,341
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
Oct. 31, 2014 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,627
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
Oct. 31, 2014 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,979
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, will describe an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people’s real needs and desires.
Oct. 31, 2014 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,845
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
Oct. 31, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,351
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
Oct. 31, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,715
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
Oct. 31, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,397
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
Oct. 31, 2014 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,018
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Oct. 31, 2014 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,685
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
Oct. 30, 2014 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,227
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Oct. 30, 2014 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,508
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
Oct. 30, 2014 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,629
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
Oct. 30, 2014 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,093
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
Oct. 30, 2014 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,789
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Oct. 30, 2014 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,206
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Oct. 30, 2014 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,652
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
Oct. 30, 2014 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,320
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
Oct. 29, 2014 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,090