Actelis, a global supplier of Ethernet over copper solutions, showcased its Ethernet Access Device (EAD) at International CTIA Wireless in New Orleans this week. The device is designed to address the growing mobile backhaul challenge faced by wireless service providers.
As a result of the skyrocketing usage of smartphones and tablets, mobile backhaul networks are becoming overloaded because of bandwidth-intensive applications. The challenge of providing affordable backhaul is magnified when carriers deploy picocells, or other small cells, to provide service to small service areas. Clusters of these small cells can be an effective way to improve broadband coverage for business parks, hotels, shopping malls and downtown areas; however, the cost and complexity of bonding T1/E1 lines, laying fiber or using microwave for backhauling traffic from small cells can be inefficient and cost prohibitive, according to Actelis (Fremont, Calif., USA)
To increase backhaul capacity from the base station at the cell site, there have been three traditional approaches: add fiber, bond multiple T1/E1 lines or employ microwave. In several cases, especially in less densely populated urban and rural areas, the cost of deploying fiber is prohibitive and takes years to recoup any investment. Bonding T1/E1 lines is also not economically sustainable or scalable to meet demand. For microwave solutions, ensuring quality of experience can be problematic, since line-of-sight is required to function properly, says the company.
“Adoption of mobile applications and underlying wireless services is expanding at an unprecedented rate, and customers are relying on services that deliver the experience they expect,” said Joe Manuele, executive vice president of worldwide sales and customer support. “This network overloading, coupled with significant growth in wireless traffic and customer expectations to have high-quality, 24/7 wireless service regardless of their location, is fueling broadband Ethernet over copper backhaul adoption, especially for small cell wireless applications.”
Actelis ML700 EAD can deliver up to 500Mbps of bandwidth with extended reach using standard EFM (Ethernet in the First Mile) bonding by utilizing DMT technology. EFM over copper-based network transport is a strong alternative to fiber, T1/E1 and microwave, as it operates over the existing copper infrastructure, says Actelis Networks.
Michael Howard, principal analyst and co-founder at Infonetics Research, believes that it will take a mix of standardized access options to provide ubiquitous high-bandwidth wireless services. EFM over copper solutions, for their standards-based efficiency, high-bandwidth capabilities and reach, will play a role in helping carriers lower their cost per bit and enable a much quicker return on their network investment, according to the company.
“We expect operators to spend $1.5 billion on EFM bonded copper Ethernet Access Devices in the next five years, as they increase the capacity to improve efficiency of mobile backhaul networks and business connections,” says Howard. “It’s clear that growing numbers of service providers globally are becoming comfortable with EFM technology, and are taking advantage of its extended reach and capacity on copper in many applications and locations where fiber is too expensive for the return on investment.”