For all the developments we see in the online sphere these days, one point underscores a great many of these: bandwidth. From streaming video to mobile video conferencing, from gaming to mobile commerce and beyond, it all runs on bandwidth. Getting that bandwidth to the users in sufficient quantity is a challenge, meanwhile, and several developments have appeared in a bid to address such issues. Small cells are one major development in the field, and a new report from iGR suggests that the backhaul for LTE (News - Alert) small cell deployment is set to grow, and substantially.
The iGR report in question, titled “North American Backhaul Forecast for LTE Small Cells, 2013 – 2018,” shows that over just the next five years, backhaul from LTE small cells is set to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 166 percent. With the demand for all data on the rise—mobile data proving no exception at all—getting both more coverage and more capacity into the field is proving to be a top priority for mobile providers. To that end, small cells are looking to be a great option in terms of putting out more capacity without having to put out a lot more investment.
Choosing a particular backhaul method, meanwhile, varies wildly depending on the conditions on the ground and the circumstances of the individual provider in question. Some focus on future scalability and how readily the network can be expanded later. Others focus on initial costs, or even total costs, as well as how long it will take for the expansion to pay for itself in terms of improved subscriptions and the like. Indeed, picking backhaul methods starts with two common points: wired or wireless. Each has its own particular set of advantages and disadvantages, including wired's ability to add capacity for comparatively lower costs later on and high upfront expense and difficulty, and wireless' near opposite of that proposition, with lower costs, faster deployment, and a comparatively difficult time adding on later. The study also goes on to cover several other points, ranging from how the major mobile operators consider the field of backhaul solutions, as well as how such solutions are deployed, how major solutions in the field differ fundamentally, and various others.
Iain Gillott, who services as iGR's president and founder, offered some commentary on the results of the study, saying “LTE small cell deployments are expected to grow at a very high rate over the next five years. And for each small cell deployment, mobile operators will need to choose the best backhaul for that specific deployment.”
Indeed, getting the bandwidth out into the field can be very difficult, and companies have plenty of decision to make when it comes to figuring out just how to get the bandwidth to the end users. The company that can do the best job of getting the bandwidth into play is the company that will likely see the most subscribers, and in the end, have the greatest success. While there will always be consumers who are sensitive to price, performance is a major part of the equation, so having a better handle on backhaul methods of all stripes will help ensure the long-term viability of mobile service providers.
Mobile service can be a difficult field, but with demand rapidly growing, it largely becomes a matter of how best to provide service and stay in the field. The best value will commonly win in a market, and providing that value can be as simple—if not easy—as providing bandwidth.
Edited by Maurice Nagle