Since 1990 Daro Connectivity’s experts have worked with various established businesses like Vodafone, Cornerstone (CTIL), Mono Consultants, and Clarke Telecom providing products and solutions for deployment on various projects for application such as:
• Central office – cabinets, panels and patch cords
• Outside plant – cable and joint closures
• Base station – cabinets, panels, feeder cables and patch cords
• Fibre to the Antenna (FTTA)
• Power to the Antenna (PTTA)
Mobile backhaul refers to the transport network that connects the core network and the RAN (Radio Access Network) of a mobile network. Recently, the introduction of small cells has given rise to the concept of fronthaul, which is a transport network infrastructure that connects the macro-cell to the small cells. Wireless and fixed-line backhaul infrastructures are essential components of the mobile telecommunications network. Mobile networks are ubiquitous and support a mix of voice, video, text and data traffic originating from and terminating to mobile devices. All of this traffic must be transmitted between the mobile cellular base stations and the core network.
The success of 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) has placed even greater challenges on mobile network operators (MNO) as they strive for more network capacity, reduced latency, and the need to deliver an enhanced user experience. In the era of 5G, where a network will be further densified and more stringent requirements imposed, mobile backhaul will become even more crucial. The traffic generated by LTE has accelerated the demand for Fibre to the Antenna (FTTA) and has required MNO’s to upgrade many aspects of their backhaul networks to fibre-based Carrier Ethernet.
5G networks will comprise of New Radio (NR) and a new 5G Core Network (5GC). The advent of NR offers a leap in bandwidth speeds in comparison to 4G via the utilisation of higher frequency spectrum. There will be three separate 5G bands initially Sub 1 GHz, 1-6 GHz and above 6GHz. It is expected further spectrum bands above 24GHz will be agreed which includes 26GHz and 40GHz bands. The higher frequencies enable wider-channel bandwidths but will also result in smaller cell sizes. Both have implications for backhaul.
Despite fibre being the preferred choice for MNO’s for 4G/5G backhaul, microwave backhaul is the most used technology due to a combination of its capability and relative ease of deployment (no need for trenches/ducting) making it a low-cost option that can be deployed faster than fibre. Most MNO’s rely heavily on microwave backhaul solutions in the 7 GHz to 40 GHz bands, in addition to higher microwave bands such as V-band (60 GHz) and the E-band (70/80 GHz). Backhaul links using the V-band or the E-band are well suited to supporting 5G due to their 10 Gbps to 25 Gbps data throughput capabilities.
Fibre connectivity has become more of a mainstay of wired backhaul in MNO networks and is second overall to microwave backhaul. Even though fibre has significant inherent bandwidth carrying capability, several additional fibre technologies can be used to offset any bandwidth constraints, essentially rendering assets future-proof. Technologies like Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) enables multiple optical signals to be conveyed in parallel by carrying each signal on a different wavelength. WDM technology is divided into two types Coarse WDM (CWDM) or Dense (DWDM).
CWDM supports up to 18 wavelengths transmitted through a fibre at the same time, wavelengths of each channel are spaced 20nm apart. DWDM, supports up to 80 simultaneous wavelength channels, with each of the channels only 0.8nm apart. CWDM technology offers a convenient and cost-efficient solution for shorter distances of up to 70 kilometres. For distances between 40 and 70 kilometres, CWDM tends to be limited to supporting eight channels. Unlike CWDM, DWDM connections can be amplified which allows for transmitting data much longer distances.