|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 Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
Sep. 25, 2016 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,385
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Sep. 25, 2016 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,535
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Sep. 25, 2016 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,550
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Sep. 25, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,574
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
Sep. 25, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,509
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems 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. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
Sep. 25, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,798
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
Sep. 25, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,514
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Sep. 25, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 827
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Sep. 25, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,457
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Sep. 25, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,380
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
Sep. 25, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,112
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
Sep. 25, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,646
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Sep. 25, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,513
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
Sep. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,571
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom 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. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...
Sep. 25, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,700
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Sep. 25, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 875
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
Sep. 25, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 936
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
Sep. 25, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 976
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Sep. 25, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,565
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
Sep. 25, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,505