Understanding Small Cell Blackhaul : challenges and solutions
by Asad Zoberi, Product manager
With the rollout of LTE and other next-gen wireless services coupled with the growing number of wireless users, carriers are approaching the limits of available spectrum, particularly in urban areas where data traffic is often most concentrated. As a result, these carriers are increasingly moving towards small cells to increase network capacity, expand the edges of the network to include areas where service was previously unavailable or unreliable, provide superior indoor and outdoor wireless coverage, and make better use of the spectrum.
Naturally, when new small cell sites are added, seamless user experience and high performance are critical, and electrical radiation patterns must be closely analyzed. Cost-efficiency is also a natural concern. Backhauling becomes a key consideration but can also present a lot of challenges. While integration of the antenna andelectronics/outdoor unit (ODU) is imperative, small cells have to maintain a very low visual impact and integrate well into their surroundings.
This article will explore the need for small cell backhaul and the challenges faced by mobile operators, as well as look at the viable technology options that are emerging to enable sites that are aesthetically pleasing without sacrificing performance or becoming cost-prohibitive.